Chief Deputy Tommy Bradford of the Dade County Sheriff's Department confirmed Monday morning that School Resource Officer (SRO) David Duvall used his Taser to break up a high school fight last week.
"It was a last resort," he said.
Bradford was commenting in the absence of Dade Sheriff Ray Cross, who was in Savannah for training. He said that Duvall had acted properly and in keeping with his training, using a modified application of the Taser to shock the boy into releasing another student he was locked in combat with because he could not make him release the other juvenile any other way.
"We try not to do that at all with students," said Bradford. "But the safety of that other student comes into play when you can't get them apart."'
The fight happened Thursday at Dade High School, and three students were initially involved. Only the one was Tased, and Bradford had to explain the operation of a Taser to explain how Duvall had used a lesser application of its power against the high school student:
A Taser contains a cartridge which shoots two small barbs or hooks that latch into a person's skin; then an electric current travels between those two hooks, delivering a shock to the person. But an officer does not have to use that cartridge and those barbs. The officer can instead touch the Taser gun itself to the target's skin, giving that person a lesser, localized shock. That's what Duvall did with the student, twice, for two second-applications.
Bradford said the student reported blacking out briefly and did not remember the first application.
All three students were arrested but Bradford said it was his understanding that all had been taken to the jail for processing, then released to their parents. Charges against them will be handled by Dade's Juvenile Justice Department.
Bradford said Duvall, an experienced officer, was in no trouble with the Department but had acted in accordance with training and good sense, not whipping out his Taser at the first sign of trouble but using it only when all else failed. "That's what he should have done," he said.
He said he had heard of no complaints from the student's parents.