Police Officer Fired For Using Taser on Man in Wheelchair During Arrest

A Florida police officer has been fired for "wrongly" using his taser during an arrest that took place in June 2021, according to multiple reports.

The chief of the St. Petersburg Police Department, Anthony Holloway, confirmed the termination in a press conference on Thursday and identified the officer as Matthew Cavinder.

"We review every use of force report that is written by an officer," Holloway said. "We have a process in place...in this case, it definitely worked."

According to Fox 13 News, "the owner of a Chevron gas station made a trespassing request due to a panhandler at the store" on June 20, 2021. Shortly after Cavinder and his partner arrived at the scene, they ran the suspect's name, Timothy Grant, and found that he had five warrants out for his arrest—including one for failure to appear in court.

In bodycam footage obtained by CBS affiliate station WTSP, Cavinder can be seen telling Grant that he is under arrest. In the video, Grant is in a wheelchair, but Fox 13 reported that the officers had seen him walking around the business prior to the arrest.

At one point in the footage, both officers lift Grant out of the wheelchair and place him onto the ground. Later on, Cavinder can be seen using his taser on Grant, who is laying on his stomach.

"We know for a fact that [Cavinder] tasered Mr. Grant four times," Holloway said in his press conference.

"[Cavinder] wrote a report, and in the report he said that Mr. Grant was resisting with violence," Holloway continued. "You've all [seen] that tape—Mr. Grant was not resisting with violence."

Holloway went on to say that the charge against Grant was reduced to resisting arrest without violence.

In the state of Florida, resisting an officer with violence is a third-degree felony, whereas resisting without violence is a first-degree misdemeanor.

"Misdemeanors are criminal offenses that carry up to a year in jail in most states," explained Nolo. "Punishment for misdemeanors can also include payment of a fine, probation, community service, and restitution."

Felonies, on the other hand, are "the most serious type of criminal offense," Nolo said. "A felony conviction, like a misdemeanor conviction, may not result in time behind bars. But felonies carry potential imprisonment that ranges from time in prison (a year is often the low end) to life in prison without parole or even death."

Though the charge against Grant was reduced, he is currently still in custody for the five active warrants against him, said Holloway.

Officer holding stun gun
A Florida police officer has been fired for “wrongly” using his taser during an arrest that took place in June 2021, according to multiple reports. Jupiterimages/istock