Charge filed against Osceola deputy suspected of igniting gas-soaked motorcyclist with Taser
An Osceola County sheriff's deputy who used a Taser on a dirt bike rider -- setting him on fire at a gas station last year -- has been charged with a misdemeanor.
Deputy David Crawford faces the charge of culpable negligence with personal injury. The Sheriff's Office placed him on administrative leave following an investigation into the Feb. 27, 2022, incident.
Deputies had pursued the 26-year-old rider, Jean Barreto Baerga, into Orange County and confronted him at a Wawa on Central Florida Parkway.
The state attorney's office says that Crawford "recklessly deployed a Taser at the victim who had become soaked in gasoline."
At a press conference last May, Osceola County Sheriff Marcos Lopez said Crawford had yelled, "Kill the pump. Kill the pump. There's gas."
The sheriff said another deputy threw his Taser aside and Crawford then used it.
The rider is still recovering from burns over 75% of his body.
The Sheriff's Office had recommended the culpable negligence charge following an investigation.
In a prepared statement released Thursday, the Sheriff's Office said: "We feel it's appropriate to let the criminal justice system determine if Deputy Crawford did a criminal act that could be proven beyond a reasonable doubt."
An attorney for Baerga told the Orlando Sentinel that his client has had medical expenses of $7 million already and that he expects to file suit against the Sheriff's Office.