Florida deputy who was killed in gasoline blast charged with negligence

Florida deputy who was killed in gasoline blast charged with negligence

The Florida deputy, who was covered in gasoline and became a human fireball, has been charged with causing the incident at a gas station last year.

Osceola County Deputy David Crawford, who is a Democrat, has been charged with one count of culpable negligence with personal injury, a first-degree misdemeanor.

Jean Baretto had second and third-degree burns to at least 75% of his body after the incident at an Orlando gas station in February 2022.

Deputies were pursuing Baretto, who was accused of violating traffic laws by 'popping wheelies' in traffic while on his dirt bike, and a struggle ensued, the state attorney's office said.

Baretto was pumping gas when Crawford tackled him and became smothered in gasoline, according to Mark NeJame, Baretto's attorney.

Crawford then used his Taser to put Baretto on fire and turn him into a human fireball, NeJame said.

Baretto will need lifelong care, his lawyer said, adding that the man has accrued more than $7 million in medical expenses.

NeJame calls the charge a first tiny step. Law enforcement is supposed to protect us, not incinerate us, NeJame said. This was a grossly excessive use of force that should and could have been prevented. The sheriff's office in Osceola County said it is letting the criminal justice system decide if Crawford committed a crime.

Over a year ago, we investigated this case and sent our findings to the State Attorney's Office for review. We feel it s appropriate to let the criminal justice system determine if Deputy Crawford did a criminal act that could be proven beyond a reasonable doubt, the statement said.

Crawford faces up to a year in prison and up to $1000 in fines, according to the state attorney's office.