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A 26-year-old Florida man is still fighting for his life after a sheriff’s deputy allegedly shot him with a stun gun while refueling his dirt bike at a gas station on February 28.
Jean Barreto’s lawyers released a statement on Facebook saying he suffered third-degree burns to 75% of his body. Barreto’s attorney from the NeJame Law Group says the injuries resulted from the Osceola County Sheriff’s Office’s failure to follow applicable “policies, procedures, protocols and practices.”
NeJame Law’s statement claims that Barreto stopped at a gas station in Wawa in Orange County, Florida after attending a meeting with a group of “motorcycle enthusiasts.”
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The statement claims that while refueling his dirt bike, an Osceola County Sheriff’s Deputy ‘slammed’ Barreto with a ‘flying tackle’ from behind and before he could close the plug fuel from the tank.
The force of the tackle knocked Barreto and his motorcycle to the ground, spilling gasoline on Barreto and the officer, the statement said.
The statement alleges that three other officers then arrived at the scene and a deputy “proceeded to use a taser on Mr. Barreto, engulfing nearly his entire body in flames and approximately half of the ‘other deputy also’.
“This fireball, caused by the reckless, senseless, unnecessary and deadly tasing, led to the horrific explosion, engulfing them both and injuring 2 other deputies with minor burns,” the statement read.
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The state fire marshal’s report confirmed that the Taser was the cause of the fire.
The statement claims that Barreto was unarmed at the time.
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After the incident, the Osceola County Sheriff’s Office told NBC affiliate WESH that deputies were trying to arrest Barreto because they said he was part of a group of bikers who were driving recklessly. and pointed a gun at other drivers. Police also say Barreto fled from a traffic stop.
Barreto spent 10 weeks in hospital and is still undergoing “potentially life-saving but excruciatingly painful treatment,” the statement said. He claims the burns extend from the bottom of his feet to the bottom of his neck.
“He is skinless over most of his body, his skin having been burned,” the statement said. “He undergoes procedures that require his dead skin to be systematically removed from his body.”
“Mr. Barreto will again be placed in a medically induced coma over the next few days,” the statement read.
The statement claims Osceola County officers were outside of their jurisdiction when they attempted to arrest Barreto.
Barreto’s legal team is asking the Florida Department of Law Enforcement to take over the case and the United States Department of Justice to step in and investigate the Osceola County Sheriff’s Office.
The Osceola County Sheriff’s Office has yet to publicly respond to the claims made by Barreto and his attorneys. A press conference led by the Osceola County Sheriff’s Office is scheduled for Thursday afternoon.
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