A Florida woman has filed a lawsuit against a former deputy after she says he used a Taser on her for no reason and then sent her an apology cake that read “Sorry I Tased You.”
According to the News Journal, Stephanie Byron filed the lawsuit against former Escambia County Deputy Michael Wohlers and Sheriff David Morgan in federal court in May. The lawsuit states that Wohlers used “excessive force against Byron, violated her civil rights, committed battery against her and caused her hardships, including physical injuries, monetary loss, medical expenses, humiliation and mental anguish.”
The incident reportedly took place in June 2015. On the night in question, Wohlers had stopped by to visit Byron after his patrol shift at the apartment complex where she worked. Although the Sheriff’s Office and the Criminal Justice Standards and Training Commission’s documents suggest Wohlers used the Taser during “horse play,” Byron said that is not the case.
Florida woman suing cop for tasing her. He attempted to apologize by sending her cake that says “Sorry I Tased You”. https://t.co/hzsaVIUslg
— Stephen Yan (@stephen_yan_nyc) September 30, 2016
Byron’s lawsuit says when Wohlers arrived at the apartment complex, he “used his apparent law enforcement authority to intimidate, harass, and threaten plaintiff… about her personal life. Because Wohlers did not like how Plaintiff failed to respond to his show of authority, Wohlers became increasingly aggressive toward employees at the apartment complex’s office, including with Ms. Byron.”
Wohlers allegedly took Byron’s sweet tea, and when she went to retrieve it, he used his Taser, which hit Byron in the chest and throat. Wohlers then proceeded to hold Byron down with his knee on her chest while he removed the Taser prods. He later attempted to apologize for his actions by sending Byron an apology cake with the words “Sorry I Tased You” written on it along with a picture of a man using a stun gun on a woman.
— Matthew Chayes (@chayesmatthew) September 29, 2016
Wohlers’ attorney has denied all of Byron’s allegations, and said his client’s actions “reflect, at worst, mere negligence.” He added that Wohlers’ actions were not in “bad faith, or with malicious purpose, or in a manner exhibiting wanton and willful disregard of human rights, safety or property.”
Wohlers resigned from the sheriff’s office on July 15 while he was being investigated for misconduct, and on Tuesday, the Criminal Justice Standards and Training Commission announced that he would be placed on a one-year probationary period from serving at any law enforcement agency in Florida. Wohlers has declined to comment on the lawsuit.
Byron is seeking unspecified damages for the physical injuries, mental anguish, and humiliation she endured during the incident.
The photo of that “sorry i tased you” cake was uploaded to the internet a full year before the alleged incident https://t.co/zm8o9p6G4U
— Jon Passantino (@passantino) September 30, 2016
Although Wohlers did, in fact, send Byron an apology cake that read “Sorry I Tased You,” the picture of the cake that has gone viral is not the actual cake she received, Jon Passantino, of BuzzFeed, pointed out on Twitter.
“The photo of that ‘sorry i tased you’ cake was uploaded to the internet a full year before the alleged incident,” he tweeted, referring to a photo that was uploaded to Imgur in 2014 with the caption, “A few days ago, I was accidentally tased by a cop while trying to break up a fight between several people. Here’s what he’s gotten me today.”
What do you think about the apology cake? Do you think Wohlers should have faced disciplinary measures for his actions? Leave your comments below.
[Featured Image by Mat Hayward/Shutterstock]