Courts & Crime

Florida sergeant suspended over Taser incident at jail

MANATEE, Fla. &mdash A Manatee County Sheriff's Office sergeant at the jail was suspended without pay for a week after he stunned an inmate after she refused to pick up her shoes, according to an internal affairs report released this week.

Sgt. Donald McGowan, who has been employed at the sheriff's office since 2000, abused his authority with 32-year-old Mia D. Barnes when she showed no apparent physical threat, according to the report.

On Nov. 29, McGowan heard Barnes yelling obscenities at other deputies and responded to the intake lobby, where he told her to pick up her shoes or he would drive-stun her with a Taser by applying it directly to her body.

Barnes, who was arrested for trespassing, told McGowan, "Go ahead and do it," as she sat on a bench with her arms stretched out to the sides, according to the report.

In security film footage from the lobby, McGowan is shown standing in front of Barnes before going over and applying the stun gun directly to her left shoulder for five seconds. In response, Barnes is seen flailing and falls to the floor, where she manages to kick McGowan in the groin area.

"The application of the ECW (electronic-controlled weapon) caused Inmate Barnes to become combative," according to the report.

Five deputies can then be seen in the video helping to secure her by dragging her out of the room. McGowan then stuns Barnes two more times. "You have to look at the whole thing," McGowan told investigators, according to the report.

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