Fort Meyers, FL – A Florida Highway Patrol (FHP) trooper who was named “Investigator of the Year” in 2020 is under investigation for Tasing a teenage boy in his girlfriend’s backyard after he refused to comply with police commands (video below).
The incident occurred on June 16 after FHP Trooper George Smyrnios spotted a teenage boy lurking on Indian Laurel way in Fort Meyers, the Daily Mail reported.
Trooper Smyrnios said that 16-year-old Jack Rodeman “darted” and hid in bushes when he first saw the patrol car, WFOR reported.
The trooper wrote in the police report that Rodeman was dressed in all black and looked “suspicious” strolling through the upscale neighborhood and so he followed him into what turned out to be the teen’s girlfriend’s backyard.
He wrote in the police report that Rodeman’s “behavior appeared to be a burglar.”
Security video from the girlfriend’s house showed the trooper confronted Rodeman on the home’s back patio where the teen said he was texting his girlfriend to let her know he had arrived, WFOR reported.
The video showed Trooper Smyrnios pointing a Taser at the teen as he stood looking at his phone.
“Put your hands behind your back,” the trooper told Rodeman in the video.
“I didn’t do nothing,” Rodeman replied without looking at the trooper.
“I told you to do something,” the trooper said.
The video showed the teen continued to ignore Trooper Smyrnios and ignored police commands.
A moment later, Trooper Smyrnios deployed the Taser at Rodeman, the video showed.
The security video showed that the teenager flopped backwards onto a stone fire pit on the patio before he fell to the ground.
Rodeman’s girlfriend came out to the patio as the trooper was handcuffing her boyfriend, but by that time, he was under arrest, WFOR reported.
The 16 year old was arrested on charges of loitering, resisting arrest, and possession of marijuana, and booked into a juvenile detention facility.
His mother, Kristina Rodeman, told WFOR that her son was already on probation for stealing a golf cart last year when he had the altercation with Trooper Smyrnios.
“His girlfriend’s traumatized, her mom’s traumatized, I’m traumatized,” Kristina Rodeman said.
She admitted that her son contributed to the situation he was in by failing to comply with the officer’s orders but told the Daily Mail that she had hired an attorney because she though he had been racially-profiled.
“I think he was totally profiled, that cop turned around and followed him back that direction,” the mother said. “It’s a black kid in black clothes.”
Rodeman is biracial, the Daily Mail reported.
FHP said it was investigating the incident.
State patrol policy permits troopers to deploy a Taser for a “sudden attack” or when a suspect displays “active resistance” to being taken into custody, the Daily Mail reported.
Watch the incident unfold in the video below. WARNING – Graphic Content: