Orlando police officer suspended for Walmart altercation

Surveillance video shows officer point Taser at customer's face

By Lisa Bell - Anchor

ORLANDO, Fla. - An Orlando police officer was suspended for 40 hours after an Internal Affairs investigation revealed he violated several OPD policies and procedures during an altercation inside a local Walmart.

According to documents and surveillance video obtained by Local 6, the officer pushed a customer onto a jewelry counter and pointed his department issued Taser at her head after the woman was told to leave the store by the assistant store manager.

The customer, Stephanie Hayman, filed the complaint against Officer Andre Howard after the December 16 incident. The OPD investigation was completed on April 4.

The report states Hayman and two of her friends entered the store around 11:30 p.m. Hayman allegedly began screaming obscenities toward the father of her two children, who's also a Walmart employee. That's when assistant manager Elisa Gertken told Hayman to leave.

Meanwhile, according to the report, another employee alerted Howard, who was working extra-duty at the store, to the incident.

Although Hayman was complying and leaving the store, the manager said she kept stopping, turning around and cursing.

In Walmart surveillance video, Howard is then seen grabbing Hayman and pushing her onto a jewelry counter while pointing his Taser toward the woman's face.

The assistant manager, Gertken, told investigators "Howard pulled out his Taser, pointed it at Hayman's forehead and said, 'If you don't shut the **** up, I'll tase you.'"

Hayman said Howard continued to hold her collar as he escorted her out of the store then called her a derogatory name and slammed her into her car, but the video in the parking lot shows the officer kept his distance.

There was no audio on the surveillance tape and the officer denied calling Hayman a derogatory name.

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