Police use Taser on Parachute man
PARACHUTE – Police in Parachute used a Taser – a nonlethal, pronged, close-range weapon that produces a 50,000-volt jolt – for the first time on Thursday, Feb. 24.”It turned from a traffic violation into a Taser incident,” said Parachute Police Chief David Higuera.Police pulled over Frank Johnson’s 2004 Jeep Liberty for failing to stop at a stop sign at Cardinal Way and County Road 300, according to the police report by officer Jeff Wells. Johnson’s wife, Amanda, was also in the vehicle. When Wells gave Johnson a summons for the three initial charges – failing to stop, exhibition of speed, and no proof of insurance, “Johnson became angry and (started) yelling,” according to the police report.Wells asked Johnson to step out of his car, which he did. The situation escalated, and he asked Johnson to put his hands behind his back. “After approximately four times of trying to get Johnson to comply, I drew my Taser weapon,” Wells wrote. When Johnson “took a step towards me, moving from the side of the vehicle swinging his arms down from his head towards me,” Wells used the Taser on Johnson.EMS arrived on the scene and removed the Taser probes from Johnson. Police took him to the police department, then to the Garfield County Jail. Police cited Johnson with six violations. Besides disregarding a stop sign, he faces charges of “exhibition of speed” – in other words, causing his vehicle’s tires to squeal, indicating he might be racing – failing to produce proof of insurance, attempting to influence a public servant, resisting arrest and disorderly conduct.Johnson has hired attorney Steve Laiche of Grand Junction law firm Griff, Larson, Laiche & Brennan to represent him.”From what Frank told me and from what I know of Frank, there’s some unusual stuff on behalf of the police here,” Laiche said.Laiche declined to comment in detail on Johnson’s case. He said he has just taken the case, and needs to investigate more.Parachute police have had Tasers for about two months, Higuera said. Police use Tasers in difficult and sometimes dangerous situations in order to make an arrest. However, he said in terms of severity, Tasers are considered less of a weapon than a police baton.”Like any citizen, he can file a complaint, which the police department will internally investigate,” Laiche said of Johnson.
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