UPDATE: Tallahassee Police Launching Internal Investigation on Potential Use of Excessive Force

TPD arrest taser
Posted at 3:22 AM, Oct 01, 2014
and last updated 2017-05-30 13:51:02-04

UPDATED (6:30 PM - October 1, 2014)

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) -  Residents off Dunn street told us today that 62- year old Viola Young did not deserve to be tased by police.

A resident who was at the home where the video was taken said the police ambushed the three individuals, coming up from behind them.

TPD has opened an internal investigation on the officer's actions within the video.

Tallahassee Police Chief Micheal Deleo says they are investigating the video, and plan to be open and honest throughout the entire process.

This year alone, TPD has had to open several internal investigations on officers within the police department surrounding the department's use of force tactics. Also this year, the department underwent an external review by an outside source of its policies and procedures.

Today, investigators were out in the area knocking door to door asking residents their account of the incident.

UPDATED (6:00 AM - October 1, 2014)

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) -- A Tallahassee Police officer caught on cell phone video tasering a 62-year old woman has now been placed on administrative leave.

Tallahassee Police Chief Michael DeLeo announced during an overnight press conference that an internal investigation is now underway reviewing the actions of Officer Terry Mahan.

"We reviewed all of the information we have at this point and we're concerned about what the video depicts and  how they may be perceived," Chief DeLeo said. "I think I try to make a very big effort at being very open and honest with everybody and when things occur that raise questions we are here to answer them. Regardless of the outcome of the investigation we want to report those findings to the public."

Chief DeLeo says Viola Young, 62, was tasered by Officer Mahan during the arrest of three other individuals Tuesday on the 500 block of Dunn Street. Chief DeLeo says officers were in the area responding to citizen complaints about drugs being sold out in the open. Those arrested include Quontarrious Jones, Laguna Young and Quaneshia Rivers.

Chief DeLeo says Young approached the officers inquiring about one of the individuals arrested, but refused to leave when told by officers. When the situation escalated, cell phone video (video posted below) captured by a near by resident, but released to the media by Tallahassee Police Department, an officer is seen walking toward Young and then tasering her.

Tallahassee Police Chief Michale DeLeo says Officer Mahan used a Taser while trying to take a woman into custody overnight.

Chief DeLeo says the investigation will help determine if the officer used excessive force or if it was justified.

"We will conduct a thorough investigation into the incident," Chief DeLeo said. "We want to be transparent with the community by sharing what we can at this point, including releasing the vide. The investigation will determine not only if the officer's actions were illegal, but if those actions were consistent with the expectations that I have for officers in the way that we treat people in our community, with dignity and respect."

Of those arrested Tuesday, Viola Young, Quontarrious Jones and Quaneshia Rivers are charged with Resisting/Obstructing An Officer Without Violence. Laguna Young is charged with Violation of Probation as it relates to previous charges of Possession of Cocaine with Intent to Sell and Resisting/Obstructing An Officer Without Violence.

VIDEO: Warning graphic language used.

According to the arrest reports, an Officer C. Woods says he made an initial stop at 5:12 p.m. after seeing several individuals in the middle of Dunn Street. The report says as Officer Woods got out of his car Jones began to walk away, despite being told to stop.

"Jones was looking at me when I addressed him both times, and continued to glance back at me when he walked away. I then grabbed Jones by the left arms and again told him to stop and that he was not free to leave," the arrest report states. "Jones immediately tensed his muscles, and attempted to pull his arm away from me."

The arrest report says as the officer was arrest Jones, Laguna Young got in between Officer Woods and Jones. 

"Young continued to verbally yell and cause a scene attracting others to approach the scene," the report states. "As people approached, Young continued to incite the crowd. Young also continued to call people to the area in an effort to gain assistance in interfering with taking Jones into custody."

It was at this point that Officer Woods writes in the report that "...I felt that my safety was jeopardized by the incitement that Young was providing" the crowd.

A second officer, Officer T. Early, arrived moments later to see Officer Woods struggling to arrest Jones, with two women, Laguna Young and Quaneshia Rivers, feet from Officer Woods.

"I could hear the subjects yelling at Officer Woods in a hostile manor demanding the reasons for the arrest," Officer Early wrote in their report.

Officers say multiple commands were given to both Young and Rivers to back off, but neither obeyed those commands. Once Jones was arrested, officers began to arrest Jones and Rivers.

"The area in which the incident took place has had recent complaints about open air drug sales," Officer Early wrote in their report. "It is my experiences that an area in which is a known location for sale/use of illegal narcotics and firearms are also involved...for these reasons I felt the safety of Officer Woods was compromised fearing that the crowd would continually become more hostile if the situation was not deescalated."

Officer Terry Mahan wrote in his arrest report that as Young and Rivers were being arrested, a fourth person, Voila Young showed up on scene.

"I addressed Viola Young directly and gave her more verbal commands to back away from our location," Officer Mahan wrote in his report. "Viola Young responded by yelling "I just want to know what is going on!" I informed her that now was not teh time for that and to leave the immediate area. Viola Young verbally refused to leave. I informed Viola Young that she was under arrest and reached out and took her left arm. Young yanked away, turned and began to move away from me in an attempt to defeat her lawful arrest. I deployed my Taser and fired one cartridge striking Young in the back. Young was incapacitated and fell to the ground."

That is when officers arrested Young and say she was cleared by EMS and found to have had no injuries.


Tallahassee Police Chief Michael DeLeo took command of the Department in December 2013 after a series of incidents involving officers and their use of force.

On September 15, Tallahassee City Commissioners announced a $475,000 settlement deal with Christina West who claimed officers used excessive force during her August 10, 2013 DUI arrest. Video of West's arrest made news across the country as it showed West being slammed onto the ground. She suffered several broken facial bones.

West was arrested after allegedly drunk when she crashed her van into a home in the Killearn neighborhood. Assault and Battery charges against West were eventually dropped and DUI charges were reduced to wreckless driving.

While four officers were eventually disciplined for their role in the arrest, on September 25, 2014, three of those officers filed appeals for their disciplinary action.

Officers Chris Ormerod, Matthew Smidt and Sgt. William Faust filed grievances saying the punishment was unjust and not fair.

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) -- The Tallahassee Police Department is launching an internal investigation into one of its officers.

Officials called 3 a.m. press conference to announce the investigation of Officer Terry Mahan.

Tallahassee Police Chief Michale DeLeo says Officer Mahan used a Taser while trying to take a woman into custody overnight.

Chief DeLeo says the investigation will help determine if the officer used excessive force or if it was justified.

We have a crew at the police department and will bring you the latest information online as well as WTXL Sunrise, starting at 5 a.m.