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Florida police punch, tase teen after he allegedly trespasses at pool

todayJune 1, 2024

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(LAKELAND, Fla.) — Police officials in Lakeland, Florida are reviewing an incident in which officers punched and tased a teenager after he allegedly trespassed at an apartment complex pool and refused to leave when police ordered him to do so.

Lakeland police charged the 16-year-old boy with misdemeanor trespassing and two felony counts of battery on a law enforcement officer and resisting an officer with violence, according to an arrest affidavit obtained by ABC News.

Christopher McKee, one of the two arresting officers in the May 26 incident, stated in a police report that he was responding to a 911 call from the apartment complex management complaining that several people were at the apartment pool who weren’t allowed to be there because they weren’t tenants. Once officers arrived, the apartment complex manager notified them that all non-residents of the complex were trespassing.

ABC News is not naming the teen because he is a minor.

“I gave [the subject] several more lawful orders to exit the property or he would be arrested,” McKee stated in the affidavit. “[The subject] continued to ignore my verbal commands and stuck his hand in my face, while stating ‘I don’t have to talk to you.’ I decided at this time to take [the subject] into custody for trespassing.”

The officer claims in the report that after making physical contact with the teen to bring him into custody, the teen struck the officer in the face with a closed fist. In cell phone video of the incident obtained by ABC News, two officers can be seen punching, pulling the hair of and tasing the teen before he submits to being handcuffed. The video does not show what led up to the incident.

Ja’Tae Lewis, the boy’s mother, told ABC News that her son and his friends were leaving the property, as requested by police. At that point, one of the officers followed behind them and told her son that the next time he came to the complex he should take his “fat a–” to the gym to work out, rather than the pool.

Lewis said that her son told her that he replied to the officer but allegedly doesn’t remember what he said. The officer then approached her son, according to Lewis, who in turn raised his hand up toward the officer’s face to establish distance. That is when the officer became physical with her son, according to Lewis.

Lakeland police told ABC News that body camera video of the incident is not available to the public at this time. The teen was transported to a local hospital and then to a juvenile assessment center, according to the arrest affidavit.

“Chief of Police Sam Taylor has already requested an administrative review by our Office of Professional Standards,” Lakeland police told ABC News through a statement. “We will not be able to release any other material related to this case until the administrative review is closed.”

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