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Florida deputy charged after stun gun turned man covered in fuel into ‘human fireball’

A Florida deputy charged with recklessly using a stun gun on a man who was covered in gasoline and became “a human fireball” has been charged over the incident at a gas station last year.

Osceola county deputy David Crawford was charged this week with culpable negligence with personal injury, a first-degree felony, according to the ninth judicial district attorney.

Jean Baretto had second and third degree burns on at least 75% of his body following the February 2022 incident at an Orlando gas station.

Deputies chased after Baretto, who was “accused of violating traffic rules while popping wheelies into traffic on his dirt bike,” and a struggle ensued, the prosecutor’s office said.

Baretto pumped gas when Crawford tackled him and “got choked in gasoline,” according to Mark NeJame, Baretto’s attorney.

Crawford then deployed his Taser, setting Baretto on fire and turning him into “a human fireball,” NeJame said.

Baretto will require lifelong care, his lawyer said, adding that the man has accrued more than $7 million in medical expenses.

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Jean Barreto. (Courtesy of NeJame Law Office)

NeJame says the charges are “just a small first step.”

“Law enforcement is supposed to protect us, not burn us,” NeJame said. “This was a grossly disproportionate use of force that should and could have been avoided.”

The Osceola County Sheriff’s Office said it will let the criminal justice system decide whether Crawford committed a crime.

“More than a year ago, we investigated this case and sent our findings to the prosecution for review. We believe it is appropriate for the criminal justice system to determine whether Deputy Crawford has committed a criminal offense that can be proven beyond a reasonable doubt.” , reads the statement.

Crawford joined the agency in 2012.

If convicted, Crawford could face up to a year in prison and/or a fine of up to $1,000, according to the prosecutor’s office.

This article was originally published on NBCNews.com

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