Trooper Cleared in Taser Incident, But Questions Remain

A Florida Highway Patrol State Trooper has been cleared of wrongdoing after a Taser incident left a 20-year-old woman in a vegetative state, but questions from critics still remain. In the dashboard video released by the FHP, Danielle Maudsley is seen trying to flee in handcuffs when she is shot in the back by a Taser from a few feet away by Trooper Daniel Cole. In the video, Maudsley immediately collapses to the ground, hitting her head on the pavement in the process. According to Tampa Bay Times, she is currently in a coma, lives in an intensive care facility, and is fed with a tube.

Maudsley was originally arrested for her involvement in two hit-and-run crashes and driving without a license. Cole arrested her and brought her back to the FHP substation in Pinellas Park, where he was filling out paperwork before taking her to the Pinellas County Jail. While in the substation, Cole heard Maudsley moving behind him and turned around to see her running out the door. After she was Tased, in the video, Cole is heard saying to Maudsley, “What were you thinking? What are you, stupid?,” Maudsley responds “I can’t get up,” provoking Cole to answer “I don’t want you to get up.” Maudsley then said “I can’t get up” one more time, and she has not spoken since.

Many critics claim that the incident that caused Danielle Maudsley serious brain damage is a clear cut case of excessive force by law enforcement. The family’s attorney, said “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.” “Tell me that’s not excessive force,” Cheryl Maudsley said. “I’m not saying she was an angel, but she didn’t deserve that. He couldn’t reach out and grab her? He was an arm’s length away.” The FHP’s own policy stipulates that Tasers are not to be used on prisoners who are handcuffed, and cannot be used as a means of stopping someone from fleeing. There is, of course, an exception to the rule though. The FHP report concludes that Cole was justified in using the Taser because Maudsley was running towards US Highway 19, which would pose a danger to others. 

Although the FHP’s investigation cleared Trooper Cole of any wrongdoing, the family of Danielle Maudsley still has recourse should they choose to file a civil suit. Scientific advances have aided in the diagnosis and treatment of brain injuries, but they can still be catastrophic, physically and financially, for an individual. Traumatic brain injuries are often the results of negligent actions of another, medical malpractice, sports accidents, automobile accidents, or criminal actions.

If you or a loved one has sustained a brain injury in an accident, contact a traumatic brain injury attorney to see if you might be eligible to receive compensation for your injuries, medical expenses, and pain and suffering. Contact us today for a free, no-risk case evaluation.