Firefighting News Stories
By: David Whisenant
May 15, 2012
Firefighters, police officer found not guilty in Christmas party taser tale
SALISBURY - Two East Spencer firefighters and a police officer were found not guilty in court on Tuesday in an alleged case of a taser attack on a teenage firefighter at a firehouse Christmas party.
In January, Chief David Ramsey told WBTV that East Spencer Fire Chief Shane Cranfield and former fire chief Allen Carlyle used a police officer's Taser on a volunteer firefighter at the fire department's Christmas party on December 10. The officer, 40-year-old James Lambeth, was on-duty at the time of the incident.
The drive stun, which is held to a person's skin, was used at least nine times on 18-year-old John Resino, a student at North Rowan High School in Salisbury. Resino is a East Spencer volunteer fireman, according to the Sheriff's report.
The volunteer firefighter reportedly ran out of the room to get away from the firefighters, but Ramsey says witnesses told deputies that Cranfield and Carlyle broke the door’s handle and stunned the teen.
Investigators say Lambeth's department-issued Taser X-26 was discharged 18 times within three minutes.
Resino was not taken to the hospital, Ramsey said.
On Tuesday after a week long trial before Judge Kevin Eddinger, the three men were found not guilty.
"I want to say thank you to all my true friends who stood behind me," Shane Cranfield told WBTV Tuesday afternoon. When asked if had been confident about the outcome, Cranfield said "I had my doubts, I knew I didn't do it, but I still."
Cranfield said he believed inconsistencies in Resino's story led to the not guilty verdict. Even though he was found not guilty, Cranfield said the accusations have taken their toll.
"I have lost my position as the Chief of the East Spencer fire department, as well as my part time paid position. My reputation, career, and life have been ran threw the mud and destroyed. I have been blacked balled throughout the county and shunned by people I have known for years and considered to be my brothers. Along with me, two other people, firefighter Alan Carlyle and officer James Lambeth, have also faced the same ridicule and public embarrassment as myself."