Trooper George Smyrnios tases Jack Rodeman Florida teen in racial profiling case according to victim’s family after dark skinned youth visited girlfriend’s home.
Jack Rodeman, 16, was walking to the Fort Meyers home in an upscale neighborhood on June 16 when he was followed by Trooper George Smyrnios, who described him as a suspicious person in an arrest report, according to WINK.
The trooper trailed the teen into the backyard and tased him as he was texting his girlfriend to come outside, according to the report. The incident was captured on a security camera.
Rodeman was reportedly arrested for loitering, possession of medical marijuana and a criminal traffic violation, and sent to a juvenile detention center for 21 days.
Smyrnios made the arrest even after the suspect’s girlfriend came outside and explained the situation. Rodeman, who was on probation at the time of the incident, remains behind bars at the juvenile assessment center facing multiple charges.
FHP trooper George Smyrnios repeatedly tased 16yo Jack Rodeman as he waited for his girlfriend on her back deck! Smyrnios hasn’t been suspended or punished for his unlawful actions against this teen who posed NO THREAT! He should be held accountable for his egregious actions! pic.twitter.com/WP3pBbjdfp
— Ben Crump (@AttorneyCrump) June 23, 2021
Was bi-racial teen ever a threat?
In the footage, the trooper is heard ordering the teen to put his hands behind his head.
‘I didn’t do nothing…’ Rodeman replied, just before the cop tased him.
The teen then fell to the ground and slammed his head into a brick fountain with enough impact to dislodge a brick, footage showed.
The arresting officer said the teen ‘darted’ through shrubs to access the backyard, and wasn’t complying with his commands, the article said. In court documents, Smyrnios reportedly wrote he ‘could not see (Jack’s) hands’ and ‘I was concerned that he might have a weapon.’
Rodeman’s mother, Kristina Rodeman has hired an attorney to fight the arrest and use of force, which she reportedly contents was due to her son’s race. Rodeman has dark skin and was wearing all black, the surveillance footage shows.
‘He is going to have to be x-rayed and looked at for any vertebral fractures without a doubt,’ attorney Derek Tyler told WINK.
‘We are going to vigorously defend all of the charges and we are also going to vigorously pursue every legal avenue available regarding the unmitigated, unjustified torture that he was subjected to by the officer involved.’
Congratulations to our very own Trooper George Smyrnios for his nomination as the 2020 State Law Enforcement Investigator of the Year! Trooper Smyrnios has solved hundreds of hit & run crashes in SWFL!
Well deserved nomination, proud of you! pic.twitter.com/KUB1NJSNQi
— FHP SWFL (@FHPSWFL) April 28, 2021
2020 State Law Enforcement Investigator of the Year!
Prominent civil rights lawyer Ben Crump also weighed in on the case.
‘FHP trooper George Smyrnios repeatedly tased 16yo Jack Rodeman as he waited for his girlfriend on her back deck!,’ Crump tweeted Tuesday night.
‘Smyrnios hasn’t been suspended or punished for his unlawful actions against this teen who posed NO THREAT! He should be held accountable for his egregious actions!’
Under Florida Highway Patrol guidelines, troopers are permitted to deploy a taser in the event of a ‘sudden attack or when active resistance or greater is offered by a subject who is about to be taken into custody for any reason.’
But officers are not permitted to deploy a taser solely to prevent someone from fleeing or in response to the individual not complying with verbal commands.
‘The most egregious part to me is here’s a kid who was offering no active resistance but passive resistance by being on his phone and texting and because he failed to comply with your lawful order you shot him with a Taser and he fell and hit his head on a brick,’ said David J. Thomas, a former police officer and professor of forensic studies told WINK.
‘If he goes and says let’s put handcuffs on, then the kid starts to fight and resist, then you have a legitimate reason to use a Taser but you don’t have a legitimate reason to use a Taser because the kids ignoring him and on his phone,’ Thomas reportedly said.
Not immediately clear is whether the State trooper would have resorted to force had the victim been white.
The incident is reportedly under administrative review by the FHP.