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Home » Blog » Police officer apologizes with a “Sorry I Tased You” cake

Police officer apologizes with a “Sorry I Tased You” cake

a cake reading "sorry i tased you" sits over police lightsDepending on who you are, baking a cake might come off as a nice way to apologize when the situation calls for it. Cakes are nice. Who doesn’t like cake?

Of course, sometimes the situation doesn’t call for a cake-apology. And even if cakes are an appropriate vehicle for saying sorry, that’s only assuming the cake is real. All this said, a cake is probably not a reasonable way to apologize for tasing somebody who didn’t deserve it and trying to cover it up. Unfortunately, that’s the route Escambia County Deputy Michael Wohlers took.

“Sorry I Tased You.”

That’s what the cake said, in deliciously shiny blue icing. A fair sentiment — but somehow not quite sincere. Especially since Wohlers didn’t even make the cake, he just found a picture of it on the internet. We’ll get back to that.

The tasing went down in June of 2015. Deputy Wohlers had just clocked out of work, having spent the day patrolling. Apparently he and the victim, Stephanie Byron, had previously established some sort of acquaintanceship, since his next stop was the apartment complex where Byron worked.

According to the lawsuit, Wohlers started aggressively interrogating Byron about her personal life. Byron wasn’t having it, and this inspired Wohler to act more aggressive. She was drinking a sweet tea. He took it from her. When she tried to get it back, he fired his taser into her upper torso. When she hit the ground, he pounced on her to remove the taser prods, at which point she took a knee to the chest.

All this, according to documentation at the Sheriff’s Office, was “horseplay.”

I’ll say that again: according to real police officers, Wohler’s use of a taser on an innocent civilian was considered “horseplay.”

Byron’s lawsuit alleges that Wohler attempted to apologize for tasing her by texting that cake picture. She originally assumed he’d baked it for her, because he said he did. Come to find out, that cake photo had already been circulating around the internet since 2014. This was exposed by a Buzzfeed News director. Thanks, Buzzfeed News director.

Of course, real or not, the cake wasn’t a very good apology. The real apology would’ve been owning up to his terrible behavior. But no, Wohler took the other route — the “file a report saying his taser somehow discharged on its own into a pillow” route. This hasn’t gone well for him. He resigned a month later and is currently set to serve a one-year probation, during which he isn’t allowed to be a cop.

Use of Excessive Force

If Stephanie Byron’s lawsuit is successful, she’ll be receiving damages on the grounds of excessive force. She wants compensation, not a picture of a cake.

It might seem like she has a pretty good chance of success, but when the defendant is part of the long arm of the law, there are no promises. Police officers are blessed with a lil’ something called “qualified immunity”, which protects law enforcement and other government officials from these types of lawsuits as long as the defendant didn’t infringe on somebody’s rights “knowingly”.

Can you see where this is going?

That’s right, ex-Deputy Wohler is potentially off the hook as long as he can get some other government officials to back up his claims that he didn’t do it on purpose. It’s the word of the law versus the word of a citizen under the law — and if you’ve been reading the news lately, maybe you have some idea of how that type of situation tends to turn out.

At Turner Law Offices, P.C., our team of attorneys has years of experience working with clients across a wide range of cases involving the use of excessive force by law enforcement. If you or a loved one is the victim of such a violation of your civil rights, the first thing you should do is seek trustworthy legal representation. Without it, you can pretty much kiss your chances of a satisfactory resolution goodbye. Call today, or go online to set up your free initial consultation, and meet with a skilled lawyer who’s ready and waiting to guide you toward the justice you deserve.

(615) 259-2660

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