Pinellas Park, FL – By anyone’s standards, 20-year-old Danielle Maudsley’s day was already off to a bad start. An earlier chain of events had led to her being handcuffed and sitting in a detention room in a Florida Highway Patrol substation. Maudsley (pictured) was a suspect in two hit-and-run crashes and reportedly had drugs in her system. Her arresting officer, Trooper Daniel Cole, was sitting nearby busy completing paperwork.
Maudsley’s day became infinitely more complicated when she made a run for it. She got out the door and into the parking lot. It was then that Cole – only a few steps behind – leveled his Taser on Maudsley’s back and fired. In a single motion, Maudsley would spin around, fall, and strike her head squarely on the asphault.
Oddly and conveniently, dashcam video from a nearby cruiser recorded the incident. Maudsley is seen on the video recording clutching her head and struggled to rise.
She then reportedly said “I can’t get up.” Those would be her final words. Maudsley has been in a vegetative state ever since.
Reactions to the incident are mixed. Some have questioned why the 267 pound Cole felt compelled to Tase a suspect less than 1/3 his weight when she – in fact – posed no direct threat to him.
“It just doesn’t make any sense,” said Greg Connor, a professor at the University of Illinois Police Training Institute who specializes in use of force. “I don’t see where it’s going to be that hard to apprehend her.”
Lorie Frindell, associate criminology professor at the University of South Florida, was part of a research forum which concluded that fleeing shouldn’t be the sole justification for Taser use and that the officer should consider the severity of the offense, the suspect’s threat level and the risk of serious injury to the suspect. Maudsley’s charges, though detestable, were nonviolent.
Another expert complained that Maudsley was not handcuffed to any stationary object.
“If you have somebody in custody, you don’t put them in a situation where they can escape,” Dave Klinger, a retired Los Angeles police officer and professor at the University of Missouri-St. Louis, said. “Why in the world was she in a position to run?”
Cole countered that he thought that Maudley was going to run into traffic. That would, paradoxically, make an intent of the Taser shot to save her life. Two state agencies have since cleared Cole of any wrongdoing.
As for Maudsley, she is currently permanently housed in an intensive care facility. She is fed by a tube, can’t control bodily functions and has no voluntary movement. Doctors have told her family she likely will never wake up.Tags: Daniel Cole, Danielle Maudsley, Drugs, Florida, Hit and Run, Taser