PINELLAS PARK, Fla. — An internal investigation cleared a trooper who in September used a TASER on a woman now in a coma.
Florida Highway Patrol Trooper Daniel Cole was cleared of wrongdoing in using his TASER on Danielle Maudsley, 20, a suspect in two hit-and-runs. In the dash cam video, Maudsley falls to the ground after the hit, which happened as Cole pursued her when she tried to escape from the FHP station.
Use-of-force expert Dave Klinger reviewed the video Friday and did not comment on the use of the TASER, but said handcuffing Maudsley in the front was an "inappropriate" tactic that may have facilitated her escape. According to the police report, Maudsley sat at the police station as Cole completed paperwork and was not handcuffed to any stationary object.
Cole was named Pinellas Trooper of the Year in 2000 and has been with the Florida Highway Patrol since 1998. Cole used his TASER once before on a suicidal man on a bridge, who did not suffer ill effects.
Former LAPD captain Greg Meyer said Maudsley's reaction to the device was atypical.
"It's been a very outstanding tool when it's used properly," Meyer said. "This type of an injury from falling down from a Taser is extremely unusual."
Under FHP policy, troopers can use TASERs when it "reasonably appears necessary to control non-compliant individuals who have escalated their level of resistance from passive physical resistance to active physical resistance (i.e.: bracing, tensing, pushing, or pulling)," according to the Tampa Bay Times. The detained person, the policy goes on to say, must appear to either be trying to escape or flee or physically threatening others.