Recently released bodycam video from the Osceola County Sheriff’s Office shows the moment that an OCSO deputy lit himself and a suspect on fire during an attempted arrest at a Wawa gas station in Orange County.
OCSO deputies followed 26-year-old Jean Barreto several miles over county lines after being called to respond to a group of dirtbike riders in late February. When Barreto stopped to refuel his bike, he was blindside tackled off his bike by OCSO Deputy David Crawford. The bike’s gas cap remained open and spilled gasoline onto the ground underneath Barreto and several deputies.
The bodycam footage shows Crawford acknowledging the spilling gas, picking up another deputy’s discarded taser, announcing his intention to tase Barreto and then igniting the gasoline on both himself and Barreto with the current.
The footage shows the scene from multiple angles, including Crawford’s. It also shows the point-of-view of the deputy who extinguished Barreto who was entirely consumed in flames. The 26-year-old suffered burns on 75% of his body, according to his attorney Mark NeJame.
Crawford was charged with misdemeanor culpable negligence, a result that OCSO Sheriff Marcos Lopez announced last week in a press conference.
“Although I personally believe there was no malice in his decision to do so … under the law his actions were reckless and held such disregard for human life that it rises to the level of probable cause for culpable negligence,” Lopez said.
NeJame questioned the department’s decision to chase Barreto across county lines for what amounts to reckless driving. Though the 911 caller who reported the bikers said that they were armed, no weapon was found on Barreto. The 26-year-old has no criminal record and no record of ever owning a firearm.
“Any charges that may be brought against Mr. Barreto are unjustified. What crime did he commit which would have caused him to even flee?” NeJame shared in a statement. “He had no record or firearm. He’s never even owned a gun, and he didn’t have one on him when he was set ablaze.”