Teen Tased By Florida State Trooper Is Still In Detention, Experiencing Headaches
A Florida state trooper repeatedly shocked a teen with a Taser gun while he was on his girlfriend’s back patio in an incident the boy’s mother claimed was racial profiling.
On June 16, Jack Rodeman, 16, walked less than a mile to his girlfriend’s house in his Fort Myers neighborhood, taking shortcuts through neighbors’ yards, something the teens do often to see each other, his mother, Kristina Rodeman, told Rantt Media in an interview. Jack Rodeman is biracial; his mother is white, his father, who lives in Nevada, is Black. Rodeman was wearing all black clothing that day.
Security footage shows Florida Highway Patrol (FHP) trooper George Smyrnios repeatedly tasing the teen while he stood at his girlfriend’s back door, where he had permission to be, according to his mother. He was texting his girlfriend, with both hands visible on his phone. His mother said, “He wasn’t a threat, he didn’t even reach into his pockets.”
The security footage shows young Rodeman falling and hitting his head on a stone fire pit, knocking a section of bricks loose. His mother told Rantt Media that Jack is experiencing headaches. She said he was given ibuprofen in detention, and that x-rays of his spine were negative. But Jack has not received evaluation nor treatment for concussion, according to his mother and attorney.
The mother of 16 year-old Jack Rodeman told me today her son is in detention center, having headaches. He hit his head on a stone fixture in his girlfriend’s backyard when Florida state trooper tased him. Jack has not been tested or treated for concussion. pic.twitter.com/xAM5IVWfJN
— Nancy Levine (@nancylevine) June 23, 2021
Jack Rodeman is currently in a detention center, being held for 21 days. He was on probation for a previous, unrelated incident in which he and a friend took a golf cart from a nearby golf course for a joy ride. Because he was on probation, the current arrest resulted in the 21-day detention, his lawyer confirmed. His mother and lawyer believe that the arrest was wrongful, so the detention shouldn’t have occurred in the first place.
His mother was first allowed to visit him on Wednesday, a week after he was arrested. She texted Rantt Media: “When I called for visitation on Monday they told me visitation was closed for the week and then I was able to see my son after a reporter contacted [them].” Kristina Rodeman texted Rantt Media that she is trying to “get my son out because this is crazy I don’t feel like he should be in there.”
Kristina Rodeman has retained attorney Derek Tyler who told Rantt Media in an interview, “The trooper was not in any physical danger, and Jack was not offering any resistance.” Tyler said the tasing was against agency procedure, cruel and unjust. He added, “It was torture. He tortured that kid.” Tyler said “We will be vigorously defending all charges and vigorously pursuing every avenue of justice against the trooper and agency. It was racial profiling.”
Tyler said that when Jack Rodeman fell after getting tased, his head and back hit the stone fire pit, knocking out an entire section of bricks. Tyler confirmed that Jack has not received evaluation nor treatment for possible concussion, despite complaining of headaches.
Smyrnios saw the teen cut through the shrubs that day and followed him because he looked suspicious, according to arrest reports reviewed by WINK News. Smyrnios wrote he “has personal knowledge that this neighborhood has had several burglaries.” But the Lee County Sheriff’s Office crime map doesn’t show any crimes in that specific neighborhood in the past year, according to WINK.
The day after the initial arrest, additional charges were filed against Jack Rodeman, according to his mother. She said that Smyrnios pulled Jack out of the detention center, put him in a patrol car, and drove him to the juvenile assessment center, where additional charges were filed for loitering and prowling. Initial charges were failure to obey an officer, under criminal traffic citation statute — which only applies to streets and roads, not to cutting through yards on foot, according to his attorney. Jack was also charged with possession of a small amount of medical marijuana — his mother’s prescription, according to her.
Why the state trooper was patrolling the Fort Myers neighborhood and tailing the teen is unknown. A spokesperson for Fort Myers Police Department told Rantt Media that the incident took place outside the city jurisdiction of Fort Myers, and in the jurisdiction of Lee County. The Lee County Sheriff’s Office emailed Rantt Media: “We decline your request for a comment.”
Lt. Greg Bueno, public information officer for Florida Highway Patrol in Fort Myers, told Rantt Media he forwarded our requests for information to the FHP office of communications in Tallahassee.
An administrative review of the incident is ongoing, according to Aaron Keller, a spokesman for the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, as reported by the Washington Post.
FHP is not commenting until the investigation is over other than to say the arrest reports speak for themselves, according to WINK.
Attorney Ben Crump tweeted about the incident:
“FHP trooper George Smyrnios repeatedly tased 16yo Jack Rodeman as he waited for his girlfriend on her back deck! Smyrnios hasn’t been suspended or punished for his unlawful actions against this teen who posed NO THREAT! He should be held accountable for his egregious actions!”
Crump represented George Floyd’s family, after former police officer Derek Chauvin murdered George Floyd last May, sparking nationwide protests.