Trial Begins For Orlando Officer Accused Of Stunning Suspect In Hospital
April 7th, 2006 12:32 PM EDT
Story by wesh.com
An Orlando police officer is on trial, accused of illegally using his Taser gun on a suspect.
Officer Peter Linnenkamp could lose his job or he could be punished in some other way by the Orlando Police Department, WESH 2 News reported.
But none of that will be explored until after the trial is over. The man who claims he was illegally stunned by Linnenkamp took the stand on Thursday.
"I was in shock and I started screaming," Antonio Wheeler said.
Wheeler used the word "torture" in recalling the early-morning hours of March 5, 2005. He'd been arrested on suspicion of cocaine possession.
Officers took Wheeler to Florida Hospital because they said he told them he'd swallowed crack cocaine, and they needed a urine sample.
Wheeler said he was willing but couldn't urinate and was told he would undergo a medical procedure to extract the urine. That's when he says Linnenkamp stunned him the first time.
"They went pulling down my pants, and I went to refuse it and he took out his Taser and Tased me with it," Wheeler said.
Wheeler was restrained in leather straps and stunned again with a device that delivers 50,000 volts of electricity. But this time, Wheeler said, Linnenkamp climbed on top of him.
"He jumped on top of me and went to press in both knees, his body weight, onto my chest and my stomach. You know, I already got Tased. I was crying, you know, 'It hurts,'" Wheeler said.
Linnenkamp and other officers who arrested Wheeler said he resisted violently. That testimony was supported by a Florida Hospital employee.
"He lifted up his torso as if he was going to head butt me, and I moved back. He did not actually hit me, but he started swearing and using profanity," said nurse technician Josh Griffin.
Other officers who originally arrested Wheeler also testified that he was violently combative and was a physical threat to others in the hospital room when he was strapped down.
Linnenkamp is on administrative duty with full pay, but he is not patrolling the streets pending the outcome of the trial and the department's internal investigation.
Wheeler faces his own trial in the coming weeks on cocaine possession and three other charges.