Deputy disciplined for Taser use at party
Naples Daily News | October 10 2005
By BRIGID O'MALLEY
A Collier County sheriff’s deputy who used his Taser stun device twice on a friend at a party and then placed the stun gun’s laser sights on his ex-wife and another man at the same party has been disciplined, internal affairs reports say.
Cpl. Randy Baum, a 19-year veteran of the agency who works in the bailiff’s bureau, was given a written reprimand and removed from his position as a Taser instructor for conduct unbecoming a deputy for inappropriately using the Taser.
Baum’s former wife took photographs of Baum using the Taser, including a photo of the man who was Tasered leaping forward from the shock.
Tasers send 50,000 volts of electricity through the body and are used to subdue suspects who struggle with officers.
There are strict guidelines governing when Collier deputies can use the weap ons and Baum’s off-duty use of the Taser on a friend at a party was not within the policies.
Reports released last week give this account:
At a birthday party for his ex-wife in December 2003, Baum used his Sheriff’s Office duty Taser to prove to a friend at the party that a shock from the Taser hurt.
The friend said he’d seen them on television and he didn’t believe the Taser shock hurt.
As an instructor, Baum was one of the first deputies to get a Taser. Gary Turner, one of the partygoers, told Baum he didn’t think it really hurt. He told Baum to get his Taser because he wanted to feel the shock.
Baum gave him a 1-second shot to his leg, and when Turner said that it didn’t hurt, he asked Baum to hit him again, so the deputy Tasered Turner again.
Baum explained that it was a light touch, not one of the longer "drive stuns" that deputies use with suspects or a 5-second hit that they take in training.
The Taser was not set up to fire prongs at Turner, and instead the only way Baum was activating it was by touching the skin.
Turner told him he didn’t want to feel it again.
"I thought that it was harmless, since people were asking me about it and, being an instructor, I didn’t at any time, point with the prongs inside, point it at any body," Baum told investigators.
Baum admitted to using the Taser’s laser sights on his former wife, Kimberly, who filed the complaint with the Sheriff’s Office in June, and another man.
That man, partygoer Brian Gibling, had asked Baum to let him feel the Taser on the buttocks.
Because the prongs were off the Taser, Baum said he couldn’t have shocked them with the stun gun.
One of the photos that his former wife had taken shows Turner jumping forward, reports say.
Another, described by Baum, showed a laughing Turner who had asked him to do it again.