2 officers fired after Tasering parade driver, 76 PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Written by MATT JOYCE, Associated Press Writer   
Tuesday, 22 September 2009 16:35
CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) — Two police officers who chased and Tasered a 76-year-old man driving a tractor in a Wyoming town parade have been fired.

Bud Grose, who was shocked five times by Officer Michael Kavenius, welcomed the decision announced Tuesday by the Glenrock Police Department.

"Hopefully this will kind of help bring the community together and be an answer to a lot of questions and problems," he said.

Kavenius shot Grose with a Taser on Aug. 1 near the end of Glenrock's annual Deer Creek Days parade. Sgt. Paul Brown was also relieved of duty.

Police say Grose, who was driving an antique tractor in the parade, disobeyed Kavenius' traffic command. That led to a short pursuit and the Taser use, which outraged some in the town of 2,400.

"After considering all aspects of the unfortunate event which occurred after the parade during Deer Creek Days this year, the decision has appropriately been made that the two Glenrock police officers involved are relieved from duty," the department said in its release.

The department said the decision came after a consultant's internal investigation and a probe by the Wyoming Division of Criminal Investigation. The Converse County Attorney's Office decided against filing any charges in the incident.

John Robinson, an attorney representing Brown and Kavenius, said the officers will appeal the firing.

They "want to thank the numerous individuals in Glenrock, around the state, and throughout the country who have supported them during this time," Robinson said in his written statement.

Earlier this month, Robinson said the officers acted appropriately, broke no police procedures and should be reinstated to normal duty. The officers had been on paid administrative leave since the day of the incident.

The town hired S.J. Miller Associates of Cheyenne to review whether the officers broke department policies.

The details of the internal review weren't available Tuesday. Police Chief Tom Sweet was away from the office and unavailable for comment, a dispatcher said.

Mayor Steve Cielinski was working at his day job at a Casper hospital and couldn't be reached for comment.

The Division of Criminal Investigation report said Grose disobeyed Kavenius' traffic command and steered around Kavenius to head toward the town park rather than the end of the parade. Kavenius told state investigators he was struck by Grose's tractor, but Grose denied hitting the officer.

The report said Kavenius then chased Grose on foot until Brown joined the pursuit in a police SUV and caught up to Grose's tractor.

The police pulled in front of the tractor, which came to a stop as it bumped the SUV. That's when Kavenius shocked Grose with the Taser.

Grose, a retired truck driver, said he's unlikely to participate in future parades. "I think I probably have retired from parades," he said.