SAN CARLOS, Fla .– Kris Rodeman finally got to see his son on Wednesday.
The 16-year-old’s mother was beside herself with worry, angry and worried that her son, currently at the Southwest Florida Juvenile Justice Center, was suffering.
And, for six days, she had been prevented from seeing him.
“He looks good,” she said after the visit shortly after noon. “It’s a little crazy. I just don’t know what I’m going to do.”
In question, the tasing of his son in the district of San Carlos Park where his girlfriend lives a week ago. A Florida highway patrol officer fired the Taser twice after the soldier said the teen did not follow his orders.
The teenager is charged with non-obedience to a police officer as well as possession of marijuana and obstruction without violence.
The story gained national attention given the increased interest in police tactics involving people of color.
“The Florida Highway Patrol is committed to ensuring the public safety of citizens and property,” the agency said in a statement when asked to comment. “With respect to the incident of June 16, 2021, a taser deployment has occurred. An administrative review of the incident has started immediately and is continuing. Once completed, the results of the administrative review will become a record. public.
The teenager’s mother is convinced that this was a case of racial profiling because her son is a person of color. Her father is black. “I have no doubt that he was profiled,” she said, adding “It was excessive force.”
The issue exploded on social media with national media calling the mother and showing up at the home where the tasing took place in the residential community of Timberlake off Three Oaks Boulevard.
The incident began shortly before 1 p.m. on June 16. According to a report by Private George Smyrnios, who resides in the same community of Timberlake, he was driving west on Winged Foot Drive.
“I slowed down, then I turned left (south) on Indian Laurel Way (Scarlet Oak Avenue). This left turn is the entrance to a private residential neighborhood called ‘Timber Lake’, the report said.
The community has no restricted access, has no doors and is open to all traffic.
“Tragic accident”:Deadly Florida Pride Parade crash appears unintentional, officials say
“This violence must stop”:Authorities arrest 3 teens linked to deadly Florida graduation party shooting
In the report, Smyrnios said he saw the teenager, describing him as a “suspicious person” dressed in black. Smyrnios said the teenager “rushed” into the bushes after spotting the soldier in his patrol unit marked Dodge ChargerFHP.
Smyrnios said the teenager’s “behavior, attitude and body language” appeared to be that of a burglar or someone who had just committed or was about to commit a crime.
Smyrnios said he could see the teenager in a backyard and motioned for the youngster to approach. When the teenager said “no” Smyrnios said he identified himself as a policeman and told him to come see him. The teenager said “no” again.
The report says the teenager then walked away and entered a yard on Chestnut Tree Loop, which is his girlfriend’s home. The soldier said he then took out his Taser, pointed it at the teenager and told him he would taser him if he didn’t obey by turning around and putting his hands behind his back.
When the teenager turned away from Smyrnios and walked away, the soldier tased him. After the teenager fell on the brick patio, the soldier ordered him to put his hands behind his back, then pile him up when he did not obey.
Rodeman, the boy’s mother, said Smyrnios called her, told her what had happened and she walked about 1.1 miles from her home to where her son was under arrest .
At that point, she said, she was angry with her son. However, she also said that she was unaware of the circumstances surrounding the tasing and that he had banged his head against the masonry of the patio.
“I didn’t know it then, I know it now. I’m glad he’s still alive,” she said. “His girlfriend lives right there. He didn’t run into the bushes.”
Rodeman said she became more worried and angry with the soldier.
Since seeing her son in the back of the Patrol until June 16, she has not seen him and has been told that tours were canceled this week at the Southwest Florida Juvenile Justice Center.
Dennis Driscoll, superintendent of the center, confirmed that standard tours were canceled this week but would resume on Sunday.
“We are currently doing special one-on-one visits for some of the long-term children,” Driscoll said.
Rodeman spoke with Driscoll on Wednesday. “He said he would see what he can do,” she said.
It turned into a visit on Wednesday afternoon. Rodeman said she saw no obvious signs of injury.
“He looks good, I was able to give him a hug and his mind is pretty good,” she said. However, she said, her son told her he still had headaches, was uncomfortable and had back pain.
Lawyer Derick Tyler, representing the Rodemans, said he saw the teenager.
“He’s still in pain,” Tyler said. The impact the teenager suffered, Tyler said, was hard enough to shatter the masonry of a fireplace on the patio.
Rodeman, although still angry with his son, is angrier with the soldier.
“I’m chasing him for excessive force,” she said of Smyrnios and plans to explore his legal options. “I’ve read things that they have to follow or obey as well and from what I see he was not allowed to do that. They also have rules to follow. I don’t want that to happen. to another child. “
Smyrnios is a hired officer, was named Investigator of the Year in 2020 and comes from a long line of soldiers. His father is a retired FHP soldier and his two brothers, who are part of the Smyrnios triplets, are also FHP officers.
San Carlos’ mother admits her son is not a perfect child and does not paint him with a halo.
She said the day before, deputies from the Lee County Sheriff’s Office arrested her son and questioned him about some local crimes, then let him go.
She said her son was on disability – “he gets a check every month – has ADHD and other issues such as anxiety.
“He’s just a little different. He’s not a bad boy, he’s misunderstood and a bit of a follower.”
She also confirmed he was on juvenile probation for a riding incident involving a golf cart at a local course.
“I hope he learns from this,” she said.
His girlfriend’s family are not talking and unwilling to participate in the issue, she said, and are upset that the media has been in and around their home.
“They just wanted to see where it went,” Rodeman said, shrugging his shoulders about his inability to prevent this unwanted attention.
The problems are just one more problem for Kris Rodeman. She quit her multi-year job as an assistant manager at a local 7-Eleven when her knee injured and she couldn’t stand for long periods of time.
“I had to borrow money to pay her lawyer,” she said. “What are you going to do?”
Rodeman, who is a single mom, was also angry with the marijuana charge, but with her son, not the law.
She has a prescription for medical marijuana for pain relief and said her son has the substance with him.
“I didn’t know he had it,” she said. “I was crazy.”
The teenager will then appear for record on July 30 before Lee County Judge Tara Paluck.
“Everyone was running”:Terror in a Florida Publix supermarket
Follow Michael Braun on Twitter: @MichaelBraunNP