MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, Fla. – A truck driver was stunned twice by a Taser and arrested Tuesday after he tried to stop police from detaining a woman in a crowd of people who were protesting low pay, high fees and increased Department of Transportation regulations, authorities said.
Florida Highway Patrol troopers said the protesters were blocking Okeechobee Road west of the Palmetto Expressway, causing authorities to shut down the road.
On Wednesday afternoon, Miami-Dade police asked drivers to avoid the area again as protesters had gathered on the road for a second day, although the road was not shut down to traffic.
According to an arrest report, the crowd became unruly Tuesday and a large group swarmed and surrounded several troopers and officers who were attempting to detain a woman, identified Wednesday as Yamiraky Guerra Lopez.
Police said Luis Calderon Martinez, 48, was holding on to Guerra Lopez and attempted to pull her away from officers.
Police said Calderon Martinez refused multiple commands to let go of the woman and struck one officer’s body with his right hand.
When Calderon Martinez continued to resist, one officer instructed all other authorities to let go of him and stunned him with a Taser, the report said.
Police said Calderon Martinez was put on the ground, but when he continued to be combative, he was stunned a second time.
According to the report, Calderon Martinez began to cooperate after the second time he was stunned and was taken to an FHP Miami station for processing.
Cynthia Calderon recorded her father being hauled away with a woman.
"I feel like they are treating him like an animal. I think cops should see the hard work these truckers go through every day of their lives," Calderon said.
Calderon Martinez faces charges of resisting an officer with violence and battery on a police officer.
Most of the drivers are independent contractors who lease or own their trucks, according to the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association. The organization is contesting the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration's electronic logging device mandate.
The companies that contract the truck drivers don't have to pay their insurance, according to the American Trucking Association. The cost of the logging device would also fall on the truck drivers, who need to have one running by Dec. 16, 2017, according to the rule.
The protesters organized a rally ride from Miami-Dade County to Tallahassee. There was a similar protest near the Florida State Capitol, where police arrested a trucker who refused to move his truck and another who they said attempted to impede the arrest.