BRADENTON, Fla. — The Manatee County Sheriff’s Office is conducting an internal affairs investigation after a deputy was caught on video using a stun gun on a 70-year-old woman earlier this month.
- Incident occurred on December 26
- Barbara Pinkney, 70, charged with felony battery on law enforcement
- More Manatee County stories
On December 26, deputies arrived at Barbara Pinkney’s Bradenton home with an arrest warrant for her grandson, Tevin Turner, who they believed was inside. She told the deputies they could not enter her home.
Moments later, they forced their way through the front door.
According to a probable cause affidavit, Pinkney was hit three times with a stun gun. She was hit first in her left arm; then, after she went to the ground, she was hit twice in the back and held to the ground by the deputy’s knee.
Pinkney was transported to the Manatee County Jail and faces charges of felony battery on a law enforcement officer and obstructing justice. She spent the rest of her 70th birthday in a jail cell.
Pinkney was released the next day after posting $1,000 bond.
"All they wanted to do is come in and look for Mr. Turner," said Manatee County Sheriff Rick Wells. "If that would have happened then we would not be standing here today."
Later Monday Wells clarified some details of the encounter, saying Pinkney was really only stunned twice.
“We know that the first shot when he tried to tase her did not take effect," Wells said. "One of the probes did not hit her. When she went down, [the deputy] tried to use the drive-stun but the safety was engaged some time during the struggle."
"Then he was able to activate the taser and drive-stun her," he went on. "So she was tased really only twice, but only felt the effect during the last one, and that was when she put her hands behind her back.”
Pinkney said she wishes the sheriff’s office would have shown her the arrest warrant before trying to come inside. That, according to Wells, is not a legal requirement.
"If they had came at it a better way, maybe I would have,” she said.
The Manatee County Sheriff’s Office is now in the early stages of an internal affairs investigation. The sheriff says they are focusing on what happened in the moments before the camera started recording.
"We're just trying to conduct a very thorough investigation that has all the facts,” Wells said. “We don't have all the facts at this point, and then people can make a decision based upon that.”
The deputy who used the stun gun, Deputy Jason Riley, has been placed on administrative duty while the investigation is conducted.
Court records show Riley was the subject of a civil lawsuit roughly a decade ago when he used a stun gun on an elderly man. He was later cleared of any wrongdoing in that case.
"We'll look at all the past issues, if there are any with Deputy Riley, and take that into consideration as well,” Wells explained, referencing the investigation.
Deputies were not able to locate Turner, the man they were looking to arrest at Pinkney’s house. Investigators are not sure if he was ever inside the home at the time, but stated if he was, he would have had plenty of time to leave unnoticed.