Utah Cop's Itchy Taser Finger Probed

Jared Massey posted the video of the officer tasering him on YouTube Tuesday.

Nov. 21, 2007 — -- A dashboard camera video posted on YouTube less than 24 hours ago showing a Utah Highway Patrol officer firing a Taser at a driver he stopped for speeding has prompted authorities there to expedite an internal investigation into the incident.

"We've known about the incident since it occurred," Cameron Roden, a spokesman for the Utah Highway Patrol, told ABC News. "But with it coming out on the Internet, we're trying to move the investigation along."

Jared Massey, 28, posted the nearly 10-minute long clip on YouTube two months after the confrontation with police took place along a rural stretch on a state road two hours east of Salt Lake City.

In it, John Gardner, the officer, is shown on his own dashboard camera as he approaches Massey's SUV and tells him that he pulled him over for speeding in a 40 mph zone.

Massey and the officer have a brief dispute over speed limit signage before Gardner returns to his cruiser to write the ticket. He then approaches Massey and the two again engage in a dispute, with Massey claiming Gardner stopped him "blind" -- without a radar gun -- and that he had not yet passed a sign where the speed limit on the road dips to 40 miles per hour.

Gardner tells Massey that he's going to sign the citation, a demand Massey refuses before the officer asks him to exit the vehicle.

The video shows Gardner walking back to his cruiser to place the citation on his bumper as Massey gets out of the car and points toward the spot where Gardner saw him speeding.

In less than six seconds after asking Massey to get out of the car, Gardner has told him to turn around and put his hands behind his back and pulled out his Taser, a device that fires tiny, tethered cartridges that transmit electrical currents to shock an intended target.

Gardner tells Massey two more times to turn around and put his hands behind his back, to which Massey responds, "What the hell's wrong with you?" and walks back toward his vehicle. At that point, Gardner fires the Taser, stunning Massey, who drops to the road.

Massey's pregnant wife, Lauren, then jumps hysterically from the SUV's passenger door, objecting to the officer's use of his Taser. Gardner then handcuffs Massey, telling him that he is arresting him for not following his requests.

"You know what, you should have followed my instructions," Gardner tells Massey as he lies handcuffed on the road.

Gardner then tells Massey's wife the same thing, as she repeatedly tells him, "You had no right to Taser him."

When he threatens to arrest her if she doesn't stay in the car, Massey, who has since stood up, tells Gardner, "Officer, you got a little excited."

Massey then asks repeatedly to have his rights read to him after being told that he's going to jail. At one point, Gardner says, apparently to another officer, "Oh, he took a ride with the Taser, pretty painful, heh?"

At the tail end of the clip, which has generated hundreds of comments and been viewed nearly 25,000 times in the first 24 hours after it was posted, a second officer arrives on the scene and Gardner explains the incident to him. "He was completely in charge," he said, describing Massey's behavior.

"I said, 'Hop out, put your hands behind your back.' He didn't do it," Gardner told his colleague. "I said, 'Put your hands behind your back.'" When Massey refused to follow his order, Gardner continued, "I said no, I'm not playing that game, pull out the Taser, 'Turn around, right now, or I'll Taser you.'" The colleague responded, "Good for you."

Massey filed a complaint with a local patrol office, according to Roden, the Utah Highway Patrol spokesman. Gardner has not been reprimanded for the incident and, Roden said, has not been disciplined for incidents in the past.

The department has a nine-page Taser policy, Roden said, and this is an incident that will be taken "very seriously."

In the video, before Gardner takes her husband to jail, he tells Massey's wife, "It didn't have to go this way, but it did."

Now that decision will be made by the state's public safety internal affairs officers.

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