FHP Trooper on Tasing handcuffed woman Danielle Maudsley: ''I needed to stop her''

6:03 PM, Feb 17, 2012   |    comments
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Pinellas Park, Florida -- Cheryl Maudsley has seen the image too many times.

The FHP cruiser dash cam images show her 19-year-old daughter, Danielle, falling motionless to the pavement in front of the Florida Highway Patrol's substation in Pinellas Park.

Photo Gallery: Dash cam images of woman's Tasing

In September, Trooper Daniel Cole shot Danielle Maudsley in the back with a Taser. Maudsley, who was trying to flee, is clearly still in handcuffs. She hits her head on the pavement and has been in a vegetative state since the incident.

The video was released this week when an independent investigation by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement cleared Trooper Cole of any wrongdoing.

Cheryl Maudsley was disgusted.

"He knows what he did to my daughter and he has to live with that every day to his death," she said.

Interviewed by and investigator after the incident, Trooper Cole can be heard trying to explain his decision and his actions.

"Prior to deploying your Taser, did you give a verbal warning that you were going to use it?" he was asked.

"No, I did not," says Trooper Cole.

In the exchange between the investigator and Cole, which has been published by the FHP, he's also asked about his decision not to tackle Maudsley, as some have suggested might have been a better alternative.

"I know that I can't just jump on her. I'm three times her weight," says Cole, "If we go down, one or both of us is going to get hurt. The taser is the immediate weapon of choice."

He goes on to say, "It's so quick, short timespan. It happened very fluid. There was an immediate... that I needed to stop her."

"And did you consider that she might fall on the hard asphalt and injure herself?" asks the investigator.

"No," replies Cole.

Although the video clearly shows Maudsley is barely a step ahead of Trooper Cole as they leave the substation's south door -- and he has clearly already had time to pull and point his taser -- he says Maudsley would have gotten away.

"Did you think she was capable of outrunning you?" asks the investigator.

"Yes, she was already outrunning me," replies Cole.

That's not the way Cheryl Maudsley sees it, no matter how many times she's watched.

"And to say he would do it again," she says, "makes me want to puke."

Danielle Maudsley was in custody to begin with because she had been arrested on a misdemeanor charge of fleeing the scene of an accident.

The FDLE found Cole's actions justified, because troopers said Maudsley was running toward traffic along Highway 19, and might have caused an accident.

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