Investigation clears trooper in Pinellas Park taser incident that leaves woman in coma

February 17th, 2012 by Staff – Pinellas Park, Florida — It’s all caught on a police cruiser’s dash cam: a Florida Highway Patrol trooper fires his Taser stun gun at a young woman trying to escape.

On Thursday investigators with the Florida Department of Law Enforcement ruled the trooper was justified in his actions, but critics say the incident is a clear use of excessive force that left the woman involved in a coma.

Photo Gallery: Dash cam images of woman’s Tasing

The video from September 2011 was just released, following the FDLE’s investigation. It shows Danielle Maudsley, then 19, running from the FHP substation in Pinellas Park while she was still in handcuffs.

Trooper Daniel Cole is then seen deploying his Taser, shooting Maudsley in the back. She collapses to the ground, striking her head in the process. The injury has left Maudsley in a vegetative state.

“In this case, you look at it and I think there are questions on whether or not it was the appropriate time and use for the Taser,” said the family’s attorney, Kevin Hayslett.

Hayslett said his client, Maudsley’s mother, was stunned by the FDLE’s conclusion that cleared Trooper Cole of any wrongdoing.

“Devastated. Disappointment doesn’t nearly get to where she is,” Hayslett said of Danielle’s mother, Cheryl.

The FHP’s own policy clearly states that tasers are not to be used on prisoners who are handcuffed, nor solely as a means of stopping someone from fleeing.

But troopers claimed that Maudsley was running directly toward US Highway 19, and had she made it to the street, she might have caused an accident. Therefore, they argued, she met the exception as a threat to the public’s welfare.

Sgt. Steve Gaskins said the FHP cannot comment further, other than to say “the incident was reviewed independently by FDLE. The trooper acted within the scope of his duties.”

“It doesn’t appear in her mannerisms that she’s posing a threat to anybody,” Hayslett said.

Maudsley had been taken into custody after rear-ending two cars and fleeing both scenes. No one knows exactly how she was able to, or why she decided to dart from the sub-station.

Regardless, Hayslett believes the FDLE’s findings will not influence a jury from seeing things very differently, if the family decides to file a civil suit.

“Why didn’t someone just reach out? She’s handcuffed. Just grab her, stop her, detain her, as opposed to putting her at risk for this type of injury,” he said.

If the family files a civil suit and wins a judgment, Florida law caps the potential damages against FHP — which has sovereign immunity protection — at $100,000.

Hayslett said Maudsley will need millions in medical care over the course of her life. The only way to get an exception would be for the state legislature to pass a specific bill authorizing it.

14 Responses

  1. amanda

    the trooper alread has his taser out when they come into veiw of the camera he know exactlly what he was going to do he couldve grabbed her by the chain on the cuffs even maybe tackel her hes a big fat cop one who is lazy an he didnt feel like doing the job right he took an easy way out now since he got away with it every freaking cop in this state is going to be taser happy!!!!

  2. Chris

    I have no problem with the actions of the FHP officer. The young woman made her own decisions – the end result is on her! She was attempting to escape … that’s it … taser her ass! If she falls and hits her head – so be it! She should not have run!

  3. Joe bill bob

    I’m 28 I have not been arrested nor will I ever be….but I do know police are here to help and protect us…being from a police family I was always tought to respect police and never disrespect them …to me this officer did not use to much force this girl was 20 years old she knows right from wrong and that day she did two wrong things one leaving a accident and two fleeing from a police officer so she broke the law twice I do not feel bad for people that have things happen like this to them my mother always told me ” for every action you do there’s a reaction ” or ” if your gonna play you have to pay ” now if this girl would of stayed at accident she wouldnt have been arrested nor would she be in the condition she is in now this goes for anyone braking the law , in jail , in prison you all made your choice to be dumb and brake the law now you have to pay for whatever the crime is you did .. rather be a fine ,jail / prison time or put to death

    But accident do happen and again let this be a lesson to all who plan on braking the law or have broke the law

  4. Derek

    I think this is a great example of an over-weight lazy officer. I don’t like, that the accused is trying to escape, but when they first come in to view he’s clearly only a step or two behind her. I fail to see where he couldn’t out sprint and grab her. She clearly doesn’t have a weapon to harm him. It is a very sad situation.

  5. Society

    This scum bag commits murder with badge taser uniform and car paid with my taxes, instead of going after real criminals he is doing his job.

  6. Topd Dod

    Cop is responsible for the safety of especially the suspect in custody, it is their job, not an easy one, and it’s not for everyone. This nimrod Daniel Cole is unworthy to serve and protect.

  7. Jeremy

    I guess if you weren’t breaking the law you don’t have to worry about getting tazed

  8. Linda

    She was fleeing from the trooper, after fleeing from an accident where she rear ended two cars! The trooper was spot on in his actions! I am sorry for her injuries but ultimately she brought this on herself! Don’t forget that she was on drugs too.

  9. p toni

    Why is that lazy fat ass still employed? Too lazy to reach out and catch the girl so he uses a tazer? What a loser. Keep hhis lazy ass away from the snack m achine until he loses 100 lbs.

  10. ds

    why is the dumb girl running?the crack head should not have ran!she asked for it ,you hit 2 cars and run your ass better not run from the cops!her parents are sueing now they should be put in jail for raiseing a crack and pill juncky!

  11. bf

    This is a clear abuse of power-END OF STORY. This cop is dangerous and those who believe he did nothing wrong are really, really scary and stupid!

  12. ben

    Nobody should be allowed to wear a uniform that can’t run down a twenty year old skinny little girl. Very sad and unfortunate situation for her and the family. So much for the serve and protect motto. Now its more like shoot first and ask questions later. Officer should be fired and punished.

  13. glad

    This dirty b**** got what she deserved. All of you mongoloids out there can talk crap about the troopers personal appearance and how he should be “catching real criminals” but guess what… SHE IS A REAL CRIMINAL!! And when some high crack whore hits your car and runs, your opinion of the importance of apprehending someone for the crime will go up quite a few notches. Trooper Cole, you are a hero sir and thank you for doing your job and completing your investigation with a suspect apprehension. Florida’s citizens thank you.

  14. Scott_Free

    Plain and simple the LEO was responsible for her safety and well being while in custody, this LEO failed miserably and a human life was lost do to his choices. Sad part is he was never punished, the tax payers were. This LEO went on to end other lives which cost the tax payers and not him.

    Now once you digest that imagine your daughter or sister being leered over while crying for help… Right before she lost consciousness forever telling a “protector” she couldn’t stand up only too have the “protector” ask if she was stupid and telling her “I don’t want you to get up”… This is a demonstration of how sick/twisted/uncaring LEOs have become… If you disagree then you too are a part of the problem that is plaguing this nation and will ultimately lead it to ruin.

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