More Tasers in the News
Here’s a story from ABC News about some recent TASER incidents.
====== ABC NEWS STORY ======
Two Cops Suspended for Allegedly Slapping and Tasering Boy
Captain Allegedly Smacked and Tasered 10-Year-Old Boy at Day Care Center
By CLEOPATRA ANDREADIS and SARAH NETTER
April 1, 2010—
Two Indiana police officers, including a captain, have been suspended for slapping and tasering a 10-year-old boy at a day care center.
A statement by the Martinsville Police Department today said it “will not condone the unnecessary treatment of any subject, regardless of age,” but would not comment on the incident any further until an investigation is complete.
The two officers, Capt. William Jennings and Officer Darren Johnson, have been suspended with pay, the department said.
The officers were called to the Tender Teddies Day Care Center on Tuesday over reports that a boy was out of control.
When they arrived, according to Johnson’s field report obtained by ABC News, he “observed an adult female on the porch of the residence attempting to restrain a male juvenile. The juvenile was hitting and kicking at the female.”
Johnson wrote in his report that he warned the boy to stop.
“I had my department issued X26 Taser out and displayed the arc for the juvenile to see,” Johnson said in his statement. “I advised the juvenile that if he didn’t stop then he would be tazed.”
In response, the boy lunged out at one of the day care staffers, screaming profanities, the officer’s report claims.
Johnson said that the captain stepped in at that point, ordering the boy to apologize.
“The juvenile shook his head no, and Capt. Jennings smacked the juvenile in the mouth, causing the juvenile to hit the back of his head on the house. The juvenile than began crying and then lunged toward the female again out of control and began hitting her,” the report continued.
The officers then intervened forcefully, Johnson said in his report.
“At this time Capt. Jennings and myself attempted to gain control of the juvenile who was in a rage. I then administered a one to two second drive stun to the juvenile’s left shoulder area. It was at this moment the juvenile finally calmed down and was more compliant. I advised that juvenile that if he began to be combative again then he would again be tazed,” Johnson wrote.
Boy’s Tasering Is Latest Stun Gun Controversy
The Martinsville Police Department statement also noted this wasn’t the first time they had to respond to calls about the boy’s out of control behavior.
Nevertheless, Martinsville Police Chief Jon Davis told the Associated Press, “The two officers could have restrained the 94-pound boy after being called to the home to help control him on Tuesday.”
The investigation has been turned over to the Morgan County Sheriffs department. The Tender Teddies Day Care Center, Captain Williams and Officer Johnson could not be reached for a comment.
The incident at the Tender Teddies Day Care Center was the latest controversy involving police use of the stun guns.
Pregnant Woman Refuses to Sign Ticket and Gets Tased
A Seattle federal court ruled Monday that two officers were justified in tasering a woman who was seven months pregnant and refused to sign a speeding ticket back in 2004.
Malaika Brooks was driving her 12-year-old to the African American Academy in Seattle when she was pulled over on suspicion of speeding. The child left the car for school and a verbal spat with the police resulted in the woman receiving three, 50,000-volt shocks, first to her thigh, then shoulder and neck while she was in her vehicle.
“To inflict pain on a person if that person is not doing what the police want that person to do is simply outrageous,” said Eric Zubel, the woman’s attorney to the Associated Press. “I cannot say that loud enough.”
Great-Grandma Gets Physical
A routine traffic stop got off to a bad start for 72-year-old great-grandmother Kathryn Winkfein. After being pulled over in Travis County, Texas, in May for driving 60 mph in a 45 mph zone, Winkfein, captured on the officer’s dashboard camera, refused to sign her ticket. She then got out of the truck, telling Officer Chris Bieze to “give me the f—ing ticket now.”
Bieze can then be seen shoving the woman, something he said was to keep her away from oncoming traffic.
“You’re going to shove me? You’re going to shove a 72-year-old woman?” Winkfein demanded. Bieze can be heard on the tape warning the woman about a half dozen times that he would tase her if she didn’t stand back, to which she replied, “Go ahead, tase me.”
So he did.
Winkfein was charged with resisting arrest and taken to jail. Bieze’s boss later told reporters that his officer did everything by the book.
Man’s Naked Plunge Supposedly Leads to Cop’s Suicide
Police in New York City didn’t get off so easily in September 2008 when a naked man plunged to his death in Brooklyn after being tased.
Inman Morales, 35, died at a hospital after falling 10 stories. Police had been summoned to the building because Morales had threatened suicide.
When they arrived, Morales crawled out a window and onto a ledge, thrusting an 8-foot-long fluorescent light at officers as he went.
A video of the incident shows an officer raising his stun gun at the man who toppled head first off the ledge, prompting gasps and screams from the crowd below.
The officer who fired the electric shock was placed on desk duty while the NYPD investigated and the lieutenant who ordered the use of the stun gun was relieved of his gun and badge.
That lieutenant, Michael Pigott, shot himself in the head a few days later on Oct. 2.
An NYPD official said after Morales’ death that department guidelines specifically prohibit the use of Tasers when the suspect is in danger of falling from an elevated surface.
No criminal charges were filed in the case.
Cop Obliges Partygoing Teen’s Request for Tase
A rookie Florida cop got a little too Taser-happy at a birthday party he hosted where adults and minors mingled over alcohol.
Eustis Police Department officials said former officer Dan NeSmith, 22, tased 15-year-old Taylor Davis in the back in September 2008 after the teen wanted to know what it felt like.
The stunt was caught on camera with the crowd cheering NeSmith on as he placed the Taser along Davis’ spine and counted down. Even as visible electrical currents shoot into the boy, NeSmith holds the Taser on his back until Davis falls forward onto the floor.
NeSmith was found to have violated department policy and on Oct. 8, he was fired from the post he’d held for just 13 months.
Officer Shocked to Find Tasered Lady Pregnant
An Ohio police officer came under fire back in 2007 after a confrontation with a pregnant woman led to the officer tasing the woman in the back of the neck.
Valreca Redden, then 33, had come to the Trotwood Police Department to ask police to take custody of her 1-year-old son, telling officers that she was “tired of playing games” with the baby’s father.
When Officer Michael Wilmer told her she needed to provide more of an explanation, Redden attempted to leave. Wilmer then held the child with one hand and pushed Redden down with the other.
As officers attempted to put handcuffs on the woman, she resisted. That’s when, Trotwood public safety director Michael Etter told ABC News at the time, Wilmer fired a stun gun into the woman’s neck.
It wasn’t until Redden, who was wearing a heavy coat, was examined by jail staff that officials realized she was pregnant.
The Ohio chapter of the Rev. Al Sharpton’s National Action Network later called for an investigation by both police brass and the FBI.
According to a follow-up article by the Dayton Daily News, Wilmer was found at fault for the incident. He was dismissed from the force in December 2007 after violating department policy unrelated to the Redden incident.
The paper also reported that Redden was found not guilty on the charges of resisting arrest and obstructing official business.
Father, Newborn Hit the Ground After Taser Strike
New father William Lewis claimed his newborn daughter suffered head injuries in April 2007 after a hospital security guard tased him while Lewis was still holding his little girl.
According to The Associated Press, Lewis and his wife had tried to leave the hospital after becoming upset with the staff, but a wristband on the baby prevented the elevators they were using to leave from operating.
In a video of the incident, Lewis can be seen holding his daughter at the Women’s Hospital of Texas in Houston, pacing while his wife and two security guards stand nearby.
A few moments later, one of the guards — later identified as off-duty Houston Police Officer David Boling — tases Lewis off-camera, causing him and the baby to fall to the ground.
The baby was later placed in state custody because of prior domestic problems between Lewis and his wife, according to the AP, and state officials said she showed no signs of trauma from the incident. The hospital defended the guard’s actions, saying in a statement that they followed proper procedure.
The Tase Heard ‘Round the World
It’s arguably the most famous use of a Taser. University of Florida student Andrew Meyer yelled out “Don’t tase me bro!” as he was tackled by university police during a September 2007 speaking engagement by U.S. Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass.
Meyer had rankled the crowd by refusing to stop firing questions at the senator, including whether or not he’d been a member of the Yale secret society Skull and Bones.
Meyer’s tasering prompted a student protest at the University of Florida and the then 21-year-old became a viral hero after video of the incident hit the Internet. “Don’t tase me bro!” became a popular rallying cry and an instant pop culture staple.
The officers, according to the AP, were eventually cleared of any wrongdoing.
The “Don’t tase me bro!” video has nearly 4 million views on YouTube.