'Lady Liberty' Tased by Fort Worth officer




Posted on March 12, 2013 at 10:59 PM

Updated Thursday, Mar 14 at 6:09 PM

'Lady Liberty' Tased

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FORT WORTH — When tax season rolls around, Lady Liberty is a common sight in North Texas.

Workers wearing light green robes and crowns are from Liberty Tax Service. Most drivers like Crystal Davis noticed the one at the corner of North Tarrant Parkway and Park Vista Boulevard in Fort Worth.

“With the little crown and robe... just kind of waving and dancing and pointing to Liberty Tax,” said Davis, who lives near the intersection.

But freedom landed in jail on Monday afternoon.

“It's a memory I won't forget,” said 19-year-old Channing Gould. “I sat in jail for it, and it could have been avoided.”

A Fort Worth police officer shot Gould twice with his Taser, claiming the teen was resisting arrest. The young man is facing charges.

He was released Tuesday after posting bond.

Gould showed News 8 the marks the Taser's probes left behind.

“I was hit right here in my head, right here in my neck, and then two in my back,” he said.

Officers said Gould was distracting drivers and violating a city ordinance that bans distributing, selling, and soliciting on medians.

But Gould claims he was just following orders after his bosses told him to stand in the crosswalk on North Tarrant Parkway to attract potential customers.

He had been working at the same spot for nearly two weeks without a problem.

“I told [the officer] I was doing my job,” Gould said.

According to the police report, Gould refused to cooperate when asked to leave the location. The situation forced the officer to call for backup.

Gould told News 8 he kept telling the officer to contact his employer, who was just a few steps away.

“I told him, 'Get away from me! What are you doing? Go talk to my boss!' I explained everything to him,” Gould recalled. "[The officer] doesn't cooperate with me. And then he takes out his Taser.”

In the police report, the officer states that Gould repeatedly ignored his commands.

“After several times telling him to do so, he walked over to the patrol car and stood there,” the officer stated. “I instructed him to get into the rear seat area and he refused to do so.”

Gould maintains the officer grabbed him while standing by the patrol car.

“I was screaming, 'Let me go! Let me go!' and then the guy, he Tased me,” Gould said.

Christina Sukhewatna, the owner of the Liberty Tax Service office who hired Gould, told News 8 she was not aware of the ordinance, but she is siding with officers.

"I can't condone the employee's behavior,” Sukhewatna said.

Gould lost his job. He plans to file a complaint against the officer.

E-mail mdiaz@wfaa.com