Teen Tasered: Was the teen in the wrong for not complying with trooper?

Reporter: Morgan Rynor
Published: Updated:
Jack Rodeman, the teen stunned by an FHP trooper, poses with his sister and mother. Jack is of mixed race. (CREDIT: Courtesy of family)

A 16-year-old is in custody after being tased by an FHP trooper last week while waiting outside of his girlfriend’s home, where he had permission to be.

The video has been viewed by millions and has caused many to question whether FHP Trooper George Smyrnios acted correctly when he stunned Jack Rodeman.

Smyrnios said he started following Jack because the teen looked like a suspicious person. Smyrnios used the Taser against Jack after the teen didn’t respond to orders to put his hands behind his back. Instead, Jack stood and continued texting on his cellphone while saying he didn’t do anything.

The question is: was it right for Jack not to listen?

It’s a complicated answer for David J. Thomas, a professor of forensic studies at FGCU who is also a former police officer. Thomas says Jack didn’t do anything wrong, but Thomas also made it clear no one, not an adult or teenager, will win a battle with a person in uniform. The time to fight back, Thomas says, is in court.

Kristina Rodeman is Jack’s mother. She also has a daughter.

“I think that if it was my daughter walking down the street, she wouldn’t have been stopped,” Rodeman said. “It’s because it was my son.”

Jack is mixed-race.

His walk to his girlfriend’s house in a Three Oaks home ended with Smyrnios confronting him in his girlfriend’s backyard and then stunning the teen twice. The incident was caught on surveillance footage.

*Warning: This video contains strong language.

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