Transgender woman files lawsuit after being Tased twice

Incident happened in Imperial County

RAMONA, Calif. - A Ramona woman Friday filed what could be a multi-million dollar lawsuit that accuses a federal ranger of tasing her twice because she used to be a man.

10News obtained video of the 44-year-old transgender woman last year, shortly after the incident happened on Oct. 22, 2011, in an Imperial County desert. The video shows a Bureau of Land Management ranger pointing his Taser at Brooke Fantelli, who is seen holding her arms and hands in the air. She is then knocked down by the voltage from the Taser.

"To me, it was probably one of the worst days of my life," Fantelli said on Friday.

It only got worse for her, as the Ramona business owner said the ranger thought she was resisting arrest, even though her arms were in the air. Fantelli said the ranger's attitude got drastically worse when he learned she used to be a man.

"This person went directly after me because of that reason," she said.

Once Fantelli was down, the ranger tased her again, this time in the genitalia.

At the time, the BLM told 10News the ranger acted appropriately.

"It's unreasonable force," said Doug Gilliland, Fantelli's attorney. "It is, per se, unlawful to tase somebody that is not exhibiting any force whatsoever."

The lawsuit lists the United States of America and a "J. Peter" as the defendants.

However, Fantelli said she doesn't expect justice to be served against the ranger.

"Probably get his wrist slapped and he'll probably still be out there working the same desert I used to race in," she said.

Fantelli said she needed the money, and she told 10News her metal fabrication business had suffered because she hasn't been able to go back to the desert to drum up business.

"I'm terrified of the desert," she said.

Gilliland said he expects the case to take upwards of three years to resolve.

Click here to read the complaint filed by Fantelli.

Click here to read Fantelli's demand for a jury trial.

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