St. Petersburg police officer fired for improperly using Taser gun on suspect

Police chief says officer stunned Timothy Grant 4 times during arrest
Officer Matthew Cavinder speaks to Timothy Grant
Posted at 2:48 PM, Jan 27, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-27 14:48:14-05

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — A Florida police officer has been fired for using a Taser gun on a man who had been in a wheelchair.

St. Petersburg Police Chief Anthony Holloway said Thursday that Officer Matthew Cavinder improperly used his Taser gun during the June arrest of Timothy Grant.

Grant, 64, was arrested June 20 on five open warrants.

Police body-camera video showed that Cavinder, who was sitting in a wheelchair, deployed his Taser gun on Grant multiple times outside a St. Petersburg gas station.

"We will not tolerate this type of behavior when we're arresting someone," Holloway said during a Thursday morning news conference at the St. Petersburg Police Department.

The video showed Cavinder and another officer assist Grant out of his wheelchair. But Grant told the officers he couldn't walk and slumped to the ground.

As Grant questioned why he was being arrested, Cavinder repeatedly ordered Grant to put his hands behind his back.

"You're gonna get tased," Cavinder warned Grant.

Cavinder then placed the Taser gun against Grant's back and "drive stunned" him four times, Holloway said.

Officer Matthew Cavinder holds Taser gun to Timothy Grant's back
Officer Matthew Grant places his Taser gun against Timothy Grant's back before stunning him four times, June 20, 2021, in St. Petersburg, Fla.

"Instead of using both of his hands, he went right to his Taser," Holloway said.

Cavinder then wrote a report that claimed Grant was resisting arrest with violence, Holloway explained.

"Mr. Grant was not resisting with violence," Holloway said.

The police chief commended his command staff for reviewing the video and taking it to the Office of Professional Standards for an internal investigation.

"This will not and cannot be tolerated here at St. Petersburg Police Department, and as long as I'm the chief here, it will not be tolerated," Holloway said.

Cavinder had been an officer with the St. Petersburg Police Department since March 23, 2020.