After a Florida man picked up a garden hose to try to extinguish a fire that engulfed his neighbor’s house in flames, he was brutally tasered by police in front of his two children.
After laying in a puddle while the electricity surged through his body, 42-year-old Daniel Jensen is now emotionally distraught from the experience. He recounted the incident to a WTSP News reporter with tears in his eyes and a cracking voice.
“It was horrible. I was laying in a puddle of water being electrocuted,” he said. “And here’s the people trying to protect us. And I’m trying to protect my family and neighbors and they’re the ones that are bringing harm to me. I don’t understand it.”
Jensen and his wife, residents of Pinellas Park, woke up from a nap at 6 p.m. on Nov. 8 to the sound of an immense fire engulfing their neighbor’s house. Grabbing his fire extinguisher, the husband and father of two ran outside in his underwear and sprayed it at the flames that were engulfing the home. The flames had already reached the fence that separated the two houses and the wind was blowing them towards the corner of Jensen’s home.
Once the fire extinguisher was empty, the panicked man, concerned about his family inside the house, grabbed a garden hose to continue his attempt at extinguishing the fire. The police were there, but firefighters had not yet arrived at the scene.
“I was calling for my daughter. I was getting no response,” he said. “So I came out, grabbed the hose and started to spray her room… until I heard she was out. [The police] kept telling me just let it go, that’s what insurance is for. That wasn’t acceptable to me.”
The police ordered Jensen to stop using the garden hose. When the man continued, they drew a stun gun and tased him, leaving marks on his back where the wires shot electrical currents through his body. Jensen received no verbal warning or threat before he found himself on the ground.
“As I went to grab the hose, I heard an officer [say] to him, hit him, take him down, tase him,” he recalled. “I didn’t know that they were talking to me or about me. I was concerned about putting water on the fire and the next thing I knew, I was being tased.”
The teary-eyed man remembers lying in a puddle of water while being stunned.
“I thought [the police] were here to help me. Instead, they hurt me,” he said.
The police claim they could have charged Jensen with obstruction for ignoring their commands to stop using the garden hose. But they themselves may soon be facing a lawsuit. Florida law requires that a Taser can only be used if all other methods to stop a person fail. The law also requires police to give the subject a verbal warning before using the weapon.
“They can’t just taser anyone,” Jensen’s lawyer Heidi Imhof told the Tampa Bay Times. “He’s an unarmed person on his private property trying to fight a fire.”