A St. Petersburg, Florida police officer has been fired following an incident where he tased a suspect four times.
According to Yahoo News, St. Petersburg Police Chief Anthony Holloway announced Officer Matthew Cavinder was fired following an internal investigation into the June 20, 2021 incident.
Cavinder and his partner were responding to a trespassing complaint at a Chevron gas station, where they found 64-year-old Timothy Grant panhandling from a wheelchair.
WPTV shared the bodycam footage on YouTube.
WARNING: the following footage may be considered disturbing to some audiences
The officers ran Grant's name and found five existing warrants.
In the bodycam footage, Grant can be heard explaining the warrants to the officers. The officers struggled to physically remove Grant from the wheelchair.
They eventually got him onto the ground and flipped him him over onto his stomach. Then, instead of simply arresting Grant, Cavinder pulled out his taser and tased the man four times.
Fox 13 News televised a press conference addressing Cavinder's firing.
Chief Holloway explained what took place.
"Instead of using both of his hands, he went right to his Taser and he started Tasering Mr. Grant."
"What he did was place the Taser up against his body. He pulled the trigger and that does cause an electrical shock to go through the body."
He explained the field report did not match the footage.
"He wrote a report, and he said that Mr. Grant was resisting with violence.You all saw that tape. Mr. Grant was not resisting with violence."
Chief Holloway expressed disappointment in Cavinder's actions.
"I think I looked at that video over 20 times... I still cannot explain to you why that officer went to his Taser."According to Chief Holloway, the department trains their officers for eight months before sending them out.
"We train officers every year. Everybody at this police department is trained on de-escalation."
It was ultimately determined Cavinder panicked and did not utilize the de-escalation tactics he was taught.
"When we interviewed the officer…at first he said it was the stress level when he got there. He heard that one of the warrants was resisting arrest with violence."
"All we can assume is he was thinking that Mr. Grant was going to fight him…again not thinking about de-escalation. He has been trained to de-escalate first."
The Chief revealed Cavinder's supervisor was the one to recommend the investigation.
"The victim didn't complain. The people at the scene didn't complain. It was the supervisor."
"I want to commend my supervisor for seeing something wrong and taking care of it."
Cavinder joined the police force in 2020. He had not been previously disciplined, and officials said he will likely not be charged with any crime.
The incident report will be forwarded to the state to determine whether or not Cavinder can keep his state law enforcement certification.
Commenters were not impressed with the officer's actions.
Viva the Cat/YouTube
Grant is currently in custody for his five previous warrants.
For the incident with Cavinder, Holloway said Grant's charge was reduced to resisting arrest without violence.