A Tallahassee, Florida, police officer is on paid administrative leave after he was caught on cellphone video firing a taser into a 61-year-old woman's back during a flurry of arrests on a residential street.
"Based on the video, I have enough concerns to call for an internal investigation and have put Officer (Terry) Mahan on administrative leave pending the outcome of the investigation," Police Chief Michael DeLeo said Wednesday. "We will conduct a thorough investigation into this incident. We want to be transparent with the community by sharing what we can at this point, including the video."
The department posted the nearly 7-minute cellphone video of Tuesday's incident, taken by a bystander, on its YouTube page.
According to a police statement, the incident was preceded by complaints about open-air drug sales in the area.
Court documents indicate that the officer exited his cruiser, approached Quontarrious Jones, 23, and told him multiple times to stop walking, according to the Tallahassee Democrat, adding that Jones was arrested for resisting without violence.
More from the Democrat:While Jones was being arrested, Laguna Young, 41, and Quaneshia Rivers, 20, both started yelling at the officers, according to police reports. They, too, were arrested for resisting without violence. Young also was arrested on a charge of probation violation.
Shortly after the arrests, Viola Young approached officers and started yelling at them as they commanded a crowd to stay back from the area, according to court documents. Mahan told her to stay back.
Court documents say she shouted at officers, "I just want to know what is going on."
Mahan told her she was under arrest, but Young moved away from him.
As she was walking away, Mahan pulled out his taser and fired it into her back.
Young appeared on the video to fall face-first into the pavement as neighbors watched. She rolled over onto her back while moving her arms. Police handcuffed her and put her in the back of a squad car.
Mahan, in a probable-cause affidavit, explained what led to the use of force on Young.
"Viola Young caused me to take my focus off of one of the arrestees and engage her," Mahan wrote. "Young's actions obstructed officers while in the course of completing their legal duties."
After the tasing a woman is heard on camera repeatedly exclaiming "Oh my God!" A man is heard saying, "They tased a lady for nothing"; he later added, "They wonder why they're hated."
Young was treated at the scene before police took her to jail on a charge of resisting an officer without violence; she was released after posting bail, the Democrat reported.
Robert A. "Gus" Harper III, a Tallahassee attorney representing Young, told the Democrat his client was "very emotional" following the incident.
"I know what I've seen on the video," he told the paper. "My gut reaction is sort of like everyone else's — it looks like an instrument that is used to deter violence is being used as a weapon. I think that goes against the spirit of the whole concept of Tasers."
Dale Landry, president of the Tallahassee branch of the NAACP, told the Democrat that the video appeared to show officers escalating the situation and losing control; Landry called for an investigation.
Pouchon Richard, who shot the video, told the Democrat that he was "enraged" by what he saw.
"But what can you do?" he asked. "That's why I put the video up — to make sure the world sees it and make sure ... somebody can do something about it."
Here's the cellphone video. (Content Warning: Strong language ahead):