NOTE: This article contains graphic details that are disturbing. Please read at your own discretion.
A 26-year-old Florida man is still fighting for his life after a sheriff’s deputy allegedly shot him with a stun gun as he refuelled his dirt bike at a gas station on Feb. 28.
Lawyers for Jean Barreto released a statement on Facebook claiming he sustained third-degree burns to 75 per cent of his body. Barreto’s counsel at the NeJame Law group claims the injuries result from the Osceola County Sheriff’s Office’s failure to follow applicable “policies, procedures, protocols, and practices.”
The NeJame Law statement claims Barreto stopped at a Wawa gas station in Orange County, Fla, after attending a meetup with a group of “motorbike enthusiasts.”
The statement claims that as he fuelled his dirt bike, an Osceola County sheriff’s deputy “body slammed” Barreto with a “flying tackle” from behind and before he could close the gas cap on the tank.
The force of the tackle knocked both Barreto and his motorbike to the ground, spilling gasoline on Barreto and the officer, the statement claims.
The statement alleges three other officers then arrived at the scene, and one deputy “proceeded to employ the use of a taser on Mr. Barreto, engulfing almost his entire body in flames and approximately half of the other deputy’s as well.”
“This fireball, caused by the reckless, foolish, unnecessary and deadly tasing leading to the horrific explosion, engulfing the two of them and injuring 2 other deputies with minor burns,” the statement reads.
The State Fire Marshal’s report confirmed the taser was the cause of the blaze.
The statement claims Barreto was unarmed at the time.
After the incident, the Osceola County Sheriff’s Office told NBC affiliate WESH that the deputies were attempting to arrest Barreto as they say he was part of a group of motorcyclists who were driving recklessly and pointing a gun at other drivers. Police also claim Barreto fled from a traffic stop.
Barreto has spent 10 weeks in hospital and is still undergoing “potentially life saving but excruciating painful treatment,” the statement says. It claims the burns span from the bottom of his feet up to the bottom of his neck.
“He is without skin on most of his body, his skin having been burned off,” the statement claims. “He undergoes procedures that require his dead skin to be routinely peeled off of his body.”
“Mr. Barreto will again be placed in a medically induced coma over the next couple of days,” the statement says.
The statement claims the Osceola County officers were outside of their jurisdiction when they attempted to arrest Barreto.
Barreto’s legal team is calling on the Florida Department of Law Enforcement to take over the case, and for the U.S. Department of Justice to intervene and commence an investigation into the Osceola County Sheriff’s Office.
The Osceola County Sheriff’s Office has yet to respond publicly to the claims of Barreto and his lawyers. A press conference led by the Osceola County Sheriff’s Office is planned for Thursday afternoon.
© 2022 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.