A former police officer from Gwinnett County, Georgia will serve a year of probation after pleading no contest to firing his Taser at a Waffle House waiter in 2009 — for fun.
Daniel Wilson, an employee of the late-night greasy spoon, said then-Officer Gary Miles was hanging around at around 2:30 in the morning during a graveyard shift back in February 2009. Wilson says Miles was a regular and in the past had intimidated and taunted him while both were on the clock — even though employees often fed the officers for free. This time, however, Wilson says the cop went over the line.
While the waiter was conversing with other officers enjoying a meal, Miles snuck up behind him, brought the Taser up to his back and fired-away for a full second. The Gwinnett County News reported at the time that after Wilson sought an apology, Miles responded, “Who says I did it by accident?”
Wilson said he usually put up with the officers playfulness — which included pointing the Taser’s red laser at him when he picked a song on the jukebox they didn’t like — because they were good tippers.
Granted, “844,739 Ways to Eat a Hamburger” and “There Are Raisins In My Toast” aren’t exactly what you want to hear being blasted off a 45 rpm at 2 in the morning after a long day at work, but taking it up with a Taser might not be the most professional response, even for the sake of a practical joke.
The actual incident was caught on store surveillance cameras, though it took Wilson and his attorney several months before they could legally obtain a copy. Once recovered, the team had hard proof that would show Miles’ unjust actions.
The footage, choppy at best, shows Miles approaching Wilson from behind and firing the Taser. While it can fire a current of 50,000 volts from up to 35 feet away — you know, at bad guys — the officer shot it from arms length “just to scare him a little bit,” as he put it.
The video neglects to show, however, if Wilson managed to drop a plate of smothered, covered and capped hash browns. Those are taters scattered with onions, cheese and mushrooms, for the layman.
After the footage was recovered, Miles resigned from the Police Department after six years of service. Charges were brought against the officer, who was eventually released after posting his bond of $8,100.
From there, an administrative investigation concluded that the officer used the weapon “as a toy.” The two other officers at the scene during the incident have resigned as well, who combined served nearly three decades on the force.
“You don’t think the police would be the one to do that,” Wilson told a local ABC-affiliate at the time. “It’s supposed to be the criminal that’s using the weapon against somebody, you know?”
“He pulled his Taser out of his holster like he was a cowboy shooting it in the air,” Wilson said. “They think it’s a big joke.”
Over two years after the incident, Miles plead no contest in a Gwinnett County courtroom recently, which will earn him 12 months of probation. Miles had initially been indicted on charges of aggravated assault and violation of oath of office, but plead to lesser charges after offering his resignation.
Wilson had already reached a settlement in a civil lawsuit against Miles and the other now former-officers, his attorney tells the Associated Press.