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Man Tasered for refusing to lift his hand off Koran
Published September 22, 2007
OCALA - Four police officers are under investigation here after a man accused them of using a Taser on him three times when he wouldn't take his hand off a Koran hidden under his shirt, a police spokesman said Friday.
Jeffrey Shields, 49, of Ocala, filed a complaint with the Ocala Police Department alleging an officer used a Taser to force him to hold up his right hand, police spokesman Lou Biondi said.
In a complaint filed Tuesday, Shields said he did not want to raise his right hand from under his shirt because he did not want to drop the Koran, but the officers said they could not tell what he was holding, Biondi said.
"The officers didn't have a clue what he had under there, regardless of what he was saying," he said.
Officers were dispatched to the scene on Aug. 31 after authorities received tips that a man matching Shields' description was armed with a gun and stashing drugs inside a book, Biondi said. Neither drugs nor a gun was found after the incident.
Shields was shocked with the Taser for 15 seconds before he removed his hand from the book, Biondi said.
He filed the complaint against four officers -Phil Hazel, Doug Russell, Bernard Smith and Jamie Buchbinder - though no police records show Russell was on the scene when the Taser was deployed, Biondi said. All four will remain on duty while the incident is reviewed.
"It is odd that he waited so long to file a complaint, 19 days or so," Biondi said. "Normally when people feel they've been wronged, it's something that happens almost immediately."
A phone number for Shields could not be located.
Biondi said a police dashboard camera did not capture the incident.
Shields was initially given a court notice for resisting arrest without violence, Biondi said, but charges were dropped at his Sept. 10 appearance.