Lawyers for a Florida man say he is still fighting for his life after he was ‘cooked alive’ earlier this year when a sheriff’s deputy allegedly shot him with a stun gun as the man was covered in gasoline for fueling his filthy bicycle.
Jean Barreto, 26, suffered third-degree burns to 75% of her body in the Feb. 27 incident at a Wawa gas station in Orlando, the NeJame Law Group said in a statement Wednesday.
An Osceola County sheriff’s deputy is accused of tackling Barreto from behind, knocking him and his dirt bike down, and spilling gas, according to the statement.
At least three other deputies then appeared, Barreto’s lawyers said, one of whom used a stun gun on Barreto.
The deployment of the weapon engulfed “almost his entire body in flames and about half that of the other deputy as well”, the lawyers said.
“This fireball, caused by the reckless, stupid and unnecessary use” of the stun gun, the statement said, led to “the horrific explosion, engulfing them both and injuring 2 other deputies with minor burns.”
The sheriff’s office did not respond to a request for comment Wednesday.
NBC affiliate WESH of Orlando reported that the sheriff’s office said in February that the incident began when people called 911 against a group of motorcyclists who were pointing guns at people.
Barreto is said to have fled an attempted traffic stop; Deputies said they later found him at Wawa in Orange County, WESH reported.
The sheriff’s office plans to hold a press conference on the incident on Thursday, the station reported.
Attorneys for Barreto provided NBC News with a report on the incident from the Florida Department of Financial Services’ Office of Fire, Arson and Explosives Investigations.
The video captured the moment Barreto was engulfed in flames as he and a deputy struggled on the ground, according to the report.
“Gasoline collects under them, soaking their clothes,” the report said. “At one point in the video you can hear the Taser cycle and then immediately see a flash … then watch the fire move under the deputies to everyone involved and back to the [dirt bike].”
Barreto’s attorneys said in the statement that he was unarmed, had no criminal record, and was tracked 5 miles to Osceola County in Orange County, where he had stopped to refuel about a mile from his home.
The incident was prompted by the Osceola County Sheriff’s Office’s zero tolerance policy for motorcycle enthusiasts, Barreto’s attorneys said. Barreto had been with dozens of other motorcycle enthusiasts before deputies broke up the rally, the lawyers said.
Barreto continues to need painful medical treatment and is in dire condition, his lawyers said.
“Mr. Barreto is still enduring a potentially life-saving but excruciating life… treatment,” the statement read. “He is skinless over most of his body, his skin having been burned. He undergoes procedures that require his dead skin to be systematically removed from his body.
“Mr. Barreto will again be placed in a medically induced coma over the next few days,” the statement said.
Attorneys for Barreto, who also allege the sheriff’s office failed to turn over body camera video and deputies’ reports, are asking the Florida Department of Law Enforcement to resume the investigation and the U.S. Department of Justice to ‘to intervene. Neither organization could be reached for comment.