Off-duty EPD officer uses Taser on fake ID suspect

James T. Roberts. Source: Vanderburgh County Jail.
James T. Roberts. Source: Vanderburgh County Jail.

Evansville Police used a stun gun on a 20-year-old man who ran from them.

James Roberts is facing a number of charges after police say he tried to escape after being busted for using a fake ID.

Police say Roberts tried to illegally get into the Fox and Hound Pub in Evansville, but some are questioning how the situation was handled.

It was Thanksgiving eve when police say they stopped Roberts over a fake ID.

During questioning, police say Roberts snatched the ID out of an officer's hands and ran.

Seconds later, police say they used a stun gun to stop him in the parking lot.

"That was not necessary, too much force," said Evansville resident Joyce Macare.

"I have heard of heart attacks, he might be a young boy, but that is too extreme," said resident Loretta Traverso.

Police say the officers followed protocol.

"That is authorized.  If you chase somebody, an officer can get hurt, the other person can get hurt and a taser pretty much stops them in their tracks," says EPD Sgt. Scott Evans.

Officials say running from police in this case can carry felony charges. They say stun guns are considered less lethal than pepper spray or batons.

Many agree, saying the officers did the right thing.

"Its a matter of the law, whether we are going to enforce it or not," said resident Larry Pharr.

"When you're breaking the law, you know you're going to face some consequences, if not what deterrent is there," said resident Becky Pharr.

Managers at the Fox and Hound say in most cases when someone is busted for having a fake ID, they just have the ID taken away and are told to leave the establishment.

After fleeing, Roberts is charged with 5 crimes and he was only 2 weeks from his 21st birthday.

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