[Video] Florida Deputy Sets Man on Fire with Taser – Gets Charged

Osceola County, Florida sheriff’s deputy David Crawford has been criminally charged with culpable negligence for firing a Taser at a man pumping gas, igniting a fireball that burned nearly three-quarters of his body.

Jean Barretto Baerga was followed by cops responding to a report of bikers riding recklessly. Osceola Sheriff Marcos López said the suspect had run red lights, ridden on the sidewalk and grass, and headed toward oncoming traffic before pulling into the Wawa gas station in Orange County for gas.

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Bodycam video shows Deputy Crawford tackling Baerga at the gas stop and shouting at his partners to turn off the pump.

“Kill the pump! Kill the pump! There’s gas!” He is heard shouting after another deputy, Christopher Koffinas, used his Taser on the suspect.

Seconds later, as Baerga lay in a pool of gasoline, Crawford pointed his Taser and said, “You’re gonna get tased again, dude!” before firing the weapon and igniting the explosive blaze.


David Crawford

“Deputy Crawford recklessly deployed a Taser at the victim who had become soaked in gasoline, and as a result, caused the explosion that injured the victim,” Orange/Osceola State Attorney Monique Worrell said, Fox 35 reported.

Baerga suffered third-degree burns over about 75% of his body, according to his lawyer, Mark Nejame, who said the only parts that weren’t scorched were his masked face, gloved hands, and feet.

According to the news outlet, his legal team said he has racked up $7 million in medical expenses, which they plan to recoup from the sheriff’s office.

“They’re going to cost the taxpayers in Osceola County millions,” Nejame said. “There should be consequences because how else do we stop this type of activity from happening again?”

Nejame praised the State Attorney’s Office’s “professionalism and diligence” that led to the criminal charge.

“He barely survived. His life will always be in jeopardy because of the massive amount of scar tissue and damage that happened to his body. … He’s doing his best to get through his life with these cards that have been dealt to him,” Nejame said, the Orlando Sentinel reported.

“If he was driving recklessly, charge him with reckless driving, but you don’t almost kill somebody and set them on fire,” he said. “You cannot have law enforcement running amok. They’re supposed to be our protectors, not our ignitors.”

Crawford was also injured in the incident and has been placed on administrative leave.

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Deputy Koffinas reportedly received a 40-hour unpaid suspension for firing his stun gun but is not facing criminal charges.

“We feel it’s appropriate to let the criminal justice system determine if Deputy Crawford did a criminal act that could be proven beyond a reasonable doubt,” the agency said in a statement to the Orlando Sentinel.

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