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COCONUT CREEK (CBSMiami) — Three of the four Coconut Creek police officers now under investigation for repeatedly Tasering an unarmed man who subsequently died in police custody, should not have been carrying Tasers on the day of the incident, according to documents obtained by CBS4 News.

Those three officers failed to undergo the state mandated re-certification class a year earlier.

Calvon Reid, a 39-year-old meat salesman, died on February 24, two days following his run in with police. Witnesses said officers appeared quick to use their Tasers and could have subdued Reid without repeated shots from the electric device.

Click here to watch Jim DeFede’s report. 

Even more incredible, documents obtained by CBS4 News show that at the time of Reid’s encounter with police a total of 82 officers – nearly the entire Coconut Creek Police Department – were not properly certified on the use of Tasers.

The records show that 48 hours after Reid died the department held non-stop Taser re-certification classes to bring its officers into compliance.

These latest revelations come on the same day Coconut Creek Police Chief Michael Mann was forced to resign by the city manager.

In an email to his fellow officers, Mann described his abrupt ouster as a “retirement.”

“All good things must come to an end,” he wrote. “I have made a decision that, after 38 years in law enforcement, I will be retiring. It’s been an awesome ride but for the good of the department, I think it is time for a change in leadership.”

Mann came under severe criticism over the past two weeks for trying to hide Reid’s death from the public and the press. He refused to issue a press release after Reid died or even acknowledge the death occurred, claiming everything about the encounter was “confidential.” But as the days wore on, Mann was finally forced to hold a press conference on Thursday, March 5.

“Taser use became necessary for the officer safety as well as for Mr. Ried’s own safety,” he explained, saying Reid appeared to be hallucinating and was combative with officers.

Mann did his best during the press conference to sidestep questions about whether his officers were certified to use Tasers, saying those questions were part of the ongoing investigation.

But then he added: “All our officers are certified in the use of Tasers.”

Unfortunately Chief Mann was not being entirely candid. It is true all of his officers were properly certified in the use of Tasers on Thursday, March 5th, when he held the press conference. However that wasn’t the case when his officers confronted Reid.

Florida law is clear. Police officers issued Tasers “…must complete an annual training course on the use of dart-firing stun guns.”

In other words, most of the officers in Coconut Creek had been working the street without proper certification for a year – others had been wrongfully carrying Tasers four years or longer.

Florida law is clear. Police officers issued Tasers “…must complete an annual training course on the use of dart-firing stun guns.”

Most of the officers had been working the street without proper certification for a year – others had been wrongfully carrying Tasers four years or longer.

Even Chief Mann was violating the law.

CBS4’s Jim DeFede asked Mann during the press conference: “Is your certification up to date?”

“Yes it is,” Mann replied.

Once again Mann was technically correct. On the day of the press conference he was properly certified. But that is only because he underwent a re-certification 72 hours earlier.

Before taking that class, his certification had been expired for two years.

Re-certification is important as officers review the rules of when to deploy Tasers. In the case of Calvon Reid, eyewitnesses have questioned whether Tasers were necessary.

“[Reid] kept yelling out, `Baby, help!’ And `Baby!’ and `They’re going to kill me!’” recalled Bonnie Eshleman, who watched the affair unfold outside her window at the Wynmoor condos.

Eshleman and her fiancé, John Arendale, said it appeared Reid may have been Tasered while his hands were cuffed behind his back.

They said the officers had pinned Reid to the ground and were placing handcuffs on him when they lifted Reid up to the ground. Reid tried to run, they said, but only made it a couple of steps. Rather than subduing him the officers went once again for their Tasers.

“Two other guys almost simultaneously shot their Tasers into him,” Arendale said.

That’s when he said Reid collapsed face down on the ground and yelled out, “I can’t breathe,” as the officers piled on top of him.

Moments later Reid appeared not to be moving. When police moved off of him and rolled him over onto his back, Eshleman and Arendale said Reid appeared lifeless and was taken away by paramedics. It is not known if he ever regained consciousness before dying.

Jim DeFede

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