Sunday, July 20, 2008

Tasing A Blind Cancer Patient

More brave, tase first ask questions later, police work from Ohio (emphasis added):

DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) - Family members are angry and speaking out after Dayton police used a stun gun on a woman who is blind and suffering from cancer. Police said they were looking for a suspect when they knocked on Denise Harris's door Thursday morning. But according to both police and witnesses, things quickly got out of hand and Harris was tased.

"She was able to force herself down on to the floor and not be cooperative, grabbing on to the detective. A taser was dry stunned onto her arm to control her hand movement, then she was cuffed," said Sgt. Charles Anderson.

Her family said she was yelling at officers because she was scared.

"She was terrified. She was extremely terrified," said Harris's niece, Dionna. "She was scared because the person identified themselves as a police officer. But she's been robbed before by someone using the same technique."

They said police used unnecessary force when officers came to the Fernwood Avenue apartment looking for Harris's son, who is wanted. Officers said Harris attacked a detective.

"She's blind and they pulled her off her Futon, handcuffed her and tased her because he said she swung at him. She can't see," said Harris's sister Elvita Harris. "I'm very frustrated and upset. Dayton police need to implement a sensitivity program."

Neighbors said they told officers she was blind and sick.

"It was heartbreaking," Brenda Miles said. "I was almost in tears because I know the lady and I look out for her because she's blind."

And the police response to all of this? It's an infuriating version of a schoolyard bully telling the principal that the kid with broken glasses meant to run into his fist:

The officers actions will be investigated, but Sgt. Anderson said Harris should have told them she was scared.

"She does not have to open her door. It was a voluntary thing for her to open her door," he said.

Harris is now facing charges for assault on a police officer and resisting arrest.

Yeah, right. The police would have just walked away from her door thinking a suspect was inside. Sure.

This is how police utilize tasers when left to their own devices.

PostBlog: some CNN video coverage is available here.