On November 26th, a 35-year-old woman was shopping at Best Buy in Daytona Beach, Florida when there was some sort of communication breakdown, and a police officer who was at the store tasered her. We wrote about it here, and it turns out there’s a video of the event here. At the time there were few details, but the full story has since been pieced together and resolved, and last week the Florida state attorney said “charges won’t be pursued because there is no evidence that Beeland committed a crime.”
From the Daytona Beach News Journal Online:
Elizabeth Beeland, 35, a yoga teacher and holistic healer, was shopping at the electronics store on Nov. 26. As she went though the check-out line to pay for a gift she had purchased for her father, she received a disturbing telephone call from her husband regarding the couple’s daughter.
Upset, Beeland stepped outside, leaving her transaction midway and her credit card with the Best Buy cashier. The cashier thought Beeland’s behavior was odd and she flagged down a police officer who was already in the store investigating another credit card fraud case.
The casher told officer Claudia Wright that Beeland handed her a credit card and she wondered whether the card was stolen because the customer had gone outside without finishing the transaction.
Wright encountered Beeland just outside the store and told her to come back inside because there was a question regarding a credit card.
According to the officer’s report, Beeland became agitated and began yelling and cussing at her.
At least one witness who saw both Beeland and Wright however, denied that Beeland screamed or cussed at Wright.
The police officer, Claudia Wright, has said that Beeland used the word “fuck” and was refusing to cooperate. But the same newspaper gives this account from one eye-witness:
Best Buy shopper Darwin Ingram said he watched the drama unfold. Ingram said he was no more than “five to six feet” from Beeland and the officer inside the store.
“I just froze in place,” he said recently. “She (Beeland) was frustrated and excited because she hadn’t done anything. She was just stepping back with her palms up. The police called it resisting, but I just saw it as exercising her rights.”
Ingram said Beeland was not yelling, and he never heard her cuss.
On December 21st, 2007, the Daytona Beach News-Journal reported that “[Beeland] was arrested on two misdemeanors, disorderly conduct and resisting a police officer without violence,” and that “Daytona Beach police used a Taser 10 times in November, but Beeland was the only person stunned who wasn’t acting violently or fleeing.”
Officer Wright has been supported by the police department throughout the incident. Again from the Daytona Beach News-Journal:
Police Chief Mike Chitwood, who makes it a habit publicly to brand as “scumbags” individuals in confrontations with police, not only defended the use of the gun, but defended using violence on Beeland as a matter of course: “I was never raised on Tasers,” he said. “I used nightsticks and slapjacks.” (SECTION A; Pg. 4A, December 27th, 2007)
(Thanks to Eric!)
“No charges will be filed against woman Tasered in confrontation at Best Buy” [Daytona Beach News-Journal Online]
“Woman Tasered by officer at store won’t be prosecuted” [Daytona Beach News-Journal Online]