SALT LAKE CITY – A video of a Utah trooper using a Taser to subdue a stubborn motorist has become wildly popular on YouTube, and the man who was zapped is asking peple to stop making anonymous online threats against the officer.
"I wish people would realize and think about this: Trooper Gardner is a real person, he's got a real family. Real lives are being affected," Jared Massey said earlier this week.
Trooper Jon Gardner of the Utah Highway Patrol subdued Massey with a Taser when the driver walked away and refused to sign a speeding ticket on Sept. 14.
State officials haven't said whether Gardner's use of the Taser was appropriate. They called a news conference for 6 p.m. EST Friday to announce the results of an internal investigation.
The incident was recorded on Gardner's dashboard camera. Massey filed a public-records request and posted the video on YouTube, which says it has been viewed more than 1 million times.
In response, the UHP has received thousands of phone calls and e-mails, many of them critical of the trooper. There also have been online threats against Gardner.
"I think mostly it's people blowing off steam, and that's fine," said Sgt. Jeff Nigbur, a UHP spokesman. "But you can't say you're going to endanger somebody's life."
Nigbur said there is no evidence that the trooper's life is in danger. Massey wants the online threats to stop.
"I wish people would have some common decency every once in awhile," he said. "When I posted the video it wasn't to vilify the guy, demean him or destroy him, and that's one of the things I hate about this."
Tasers use compressed nitrogen to fire two barbed darts that can penetrate clothing to deliver a 50,000-volt shock to immobilize people.