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Dog Walker Taser In The Back

February 2, 2012 by staff 

Dog Walker Taser In The Back, A man walking his dogs in a federal park overlooking the Pacific Ocean was hit with a stun gun and arrested by a park ranger who accused him of not tethering the animals and giving a false name, astonishing passers-by who say the reaction was excessive.

The ranger deployed the Taser stun gun on Gary Hesterberg on Sunday after he ignored the ranger’s orders and tried to walk away, the National Park Service said. Hesterberg was allegedly walking his dogs without leashes in violation of the rules of Rancho Corral de Tierra, which was incorporated into the Golden Gate National Recreation Area in December.

“It appears the incident began as one of several educational contacts that day about the NPS rules on dog-walking,” said Howard Levitt, the recreation area’s communications director. “But this one developed into a more serious law enforcement situation when the person being contacted provided false information.”

Hesterberg allegedly refused to provide the ranger with printed identification, and she realized he had told her a false name when she called dispatchers to verify, Levitt said. While she was on the telephone, “the man failed to heed repeated orders to remain at the scene” and the ranger used her Taser, he said.

The encounter is being reviewed just like any other use of force by a law enforcement officer, Levitt said. The ranger, whom he would not identify, remains on the job, he said.

“Any law enforcement officer has a variety of means by which to insure compliance in a law enforcement situation, so the standard is they exercise reasonable judgment to ensure compliance in any situation they find themselves in,” Levitt said.

A witness, Michelle Babcck, told the San Francisco Chronicle the ranger never gave Hesterberg an explanation as to why he was being detained and then hit him with the stun gun in the back.

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