A Florida motorcyclist is fighting for his life after he was tasered by a police officer at a petrol station which sparked a “horrific explosion” that “cooked” him alive, his lawyers have said.
Jean Barreto suffered third-degree burns over 75% of his body during the incident on 27 February as he filled up his dirt bike at a Wawa petrol station in Orlando, the NeJame Law firm said in a statement on Wednesday.
An Osceola County sheriff’s deputy is accused of tackling the 26-year-old from behind, knocking him and his motorbike to the ground and spilling petrol, the statement said.
At least three other officers arrived at the scene, and one of them used his stun gun on the motorcyclist, sparking a “fireball” and “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 two other deputies with minor burns,” the lawyers said.
They said the motorcyclist “is still undergoing potentially lifesaving but excruciatingly painful treatment” and “he is without skin on most of his body, his skin having been burned off”.
The lawyers said he was to be placed in a medically induced coma over the next couple of days, as he undergoes further new treatment at Orlando Health, which has been growing tissue taken from a 4-inch patch of unburned skin for grafting.
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“While being cooked alive, Mr Barreto sustained third-degree burns on approximately 75% of his body, front and back from his feet to the bottom of his neck,” they said.
NBC News affiliate WESH reported the sheriff’s office said in February that the incident started when police received calls about a group of motorcyclists pointing guns at people.
Mr Barreto is alleged to have fled from an attempted traffic stop, and officers said they later found him at the Wawa petrol station.