Jon Tobin, 58, arrested after medical episode while riding bicycle in 2020
COCOA BEACH, Fla. – A man with epilepsy fought for his innocence for three years after he said he was suffering from a seizure at the time Brevard County deputies tased him.
When Jon Tobin stopped riding his bicycle on Ridgewood Avenue, he said first responders should have recognized his medical emergency instead of believing he was impaired.
“I felt a seizure coming on,” Tobin recalled. “I pulled over. After that, I don’t know what happened. My friend called me up and said, ‘You’re in a hospital handcuffed.”
Tobin’s arrest report from July 24, 2020 reads the Cocoa Beach resident bit a deputy who responded.
“You’re going to get tased,” a deputy is heard on dash camera video talking to Tobin after deputies said the suspect did not comply.
The tasing can only be heard on dash camera video because the Brevard County Sheriff’s Office still doesn’t use body cameras.
Tobin isn’t seen on camera until paramedics put him in the ambulance.
Arrested on charges of resisting and battery on law enforcement, Tobin said the black eye in his mug shot and his other bruises weren’t from falling off a bike.
“When the cop pulled over, he ran across the street and within five seconds, eight seconds, he starts beating me up,” Tobin said. “They thought I was an illegal immigrant and drinking.”
A deputy is heard on video asking Tobin if he speaks English.
Tobin countered prosecutors by getting doctors to confirm he’s suffered from epilepsy since he was a small child.
Tobin faced up to three years in jail until this month when the state attorney’s office finally dropped charges.
A statement reads in part, “These reports confirmed that Mr. Tobin had been diagnosed with a preexisting medical condition that could have produced a seizure at the time of the arrest.”
Tobin said his driver’s license noted it was suspended because he has seizures, but the state attorney’s office wrote, “this information was not available to the arresting officers at the time of the incident, making Mr. Tobin’s medical episode indistinguishable from a willful effort to commit crimes of battery, and resisting an officer with violence.”
His name cleared, now Tobin said he wants to sue the sheriff’s office.
“I knew I was innocent that I did not commit a crime or touch a cop or an EMT, intentionally,” he said. “I feel better now, but now it’s time for a civil lawsuit.”
The sheriff’s office said it fired one of the deputies at the scene, but or disciplinary reasons unrelated to Tobin’s arrest.
A spokesperson said the use of force was in compliance with department policy.
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About the Author:
James joined News 6 in March 2016 as the Brevard County Reporter. His arrival was the realization of a three-year effort to return to the state where his career began. James is from Pittsburgh, PA and graduated from Penn State in 2009 with a degree in Broadcast Journalism.