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National Briefing / Texas

Police officer uses Taser on pastor

July 02, 2009|Times Wire Reports

Webster police used a Taser on a pastor and pepper spray on his congregants after he allegedly interfered with a traffic stop in the church parking lot.

Congregants say they were in the church, Iglesia Profetica Peniel, for an early-morning prayer when pastor Jose Elias Moran went to assist the stopped driver, a church member, by asking the police what had happened.

An incident report on the police department's website said Officer Raymond Berryman tried to calm Moran and arrest him. Police say Moran pushed the officer, went inside the church and returned with 40 other congregants.

But congregants say Moran fled into the church when the officer began to yell. Moran's family says he did not touch the officer.

Speaking from a hospital bed, Moran, 42, said he planned to hire an attorney to file charges against Berryman. He was being held at the hospital overnight for additional tests.

Police Sgt. James Lovel said that negotiations for Moran's bail were underway.

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