Florida Cop Tasers Woman, then Apologizes with Text Message
A Florida cop is being sued after he tasered a woman in the throat and chest when she didn’t respect his authority after he showed up to her job in full uniform while off-duty to lecture her about her personal life.
Escambia County Sheriff deputy Michael Wholer then tried to make amends by sending the victim Stephanie Byron a text message that included a picture of a baked cake decorated with the message “I’m sorry I tased you.”
It is not clear what type of relationship Wholer had with Byron, but he resigned from the North Florida law enforcement agency shortly after the June 2015 incident when he was caught lying to supervisors about why he had deployed the taser.
Initial news reports about the half-baked apology apparently included a minor misunderstanding amongst various media outlets.
New York Post reported, “according to court documents, the former cop baked a cake for Byron with the phrase ‘Sorry I Tased You’ in blue icing.'”
But Buzzfeed’s Jon Passantino tweeted that the photo of the cake going viral on the internet was actually posted a full year before the incident alleged in the lawsuit.
Gizmodo reported that the “Sorry I Tased Cake Story that’s Going Viral is Totally Fake.”
PINAC’s National Investigator, Felipe Hemming got to the bottom of the story by obtaining a copy of the lawsuit and discovered Byron’s attorney got it wrong by claiming the cop did bake the cake and sent it to his client.
According to the lawsuit, filed in May 2016, the incident occurred on June 12, 2015.
After his shift, Wholer dropped in to visit Stephanie Byron to lecture her about her personal life.
And even though sheriff documents state Wholer discharged his taser during “horse play” with Byron, her lawsuit alleges there was no “play.”
Byron and her attorneys say Wohler began getting aggressive and took Byron’s sweet tea and refused to give it back. When she went to take back her drink, deputy Wohler fired his taser.
The electrified prods hit Byron in her throat “cutting her across her neck.”
The other prod embedded itself in her breast.
The shock delivered from the taser caused Mrs. Byron’s body to lock up and she fell to the floor.
Deputy Wholer then “jumped onto Ms. Byron, kneeing her in the chest and forcefully removed the Taser prods while she lay there bleeding in pain.”
According to the lawsuit, Wholer then filed a false report, documenting an “accidental discharge” of his taser into his pillow at home, attempting to lie to his department about why his taser was fired while he was off-duty.
Apparently after having a guilty conscience, the lawsuit states Wholer baked Byron a cake, and that he attached a picture of the cake (exhibit A), which was simply a picture he coincidentally found on the internet.
Byron’s attorney, Alistair McKenzie, corrected this inaccuracy on Friday, according to the Pensacola News Journal.
Wholer is claiming qualified immunity on the basis that “his actions were not contrary to clearly established law which a reasonable officer would be expected to know.”
Byron’s lawsuit claims she is permanently scarred from the attack, alleging it constitutes acts that were unconstitutional, which amounted to excessive force under the freedom to be free from force outlined in the Plaintiff’s rights under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. and the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments of the U.S. Constitution.
She asks for damages suffered from temporary and permanent damages, including lost wages, past and future medical expenses, mental anguish, embarrassment, humiliation, loss of capacity to enjoy life, and normal body function.