Monday, July 20, 2009

Even More Tasing Children

This incident is a prime example of why police can't be allowed to police themselves (added emphasis is mine):
An Illinois agency has sued two sheriff's deputies in Southern Illinois, alleging that they handcuffed, threatened and Tasered teenage foster children.

The suit, filed in federal court in East St. Louis by the Illinois Office of State Guardian on behalf of the children, says the deputies used excessive force and violated the children's rights. The suit also names Jefferson County, Ill., Sheriff Roger Mulch, his department and the county.

According to the suit, Deputies David Bowers and Lonnie Lawler were sent to the Southern Thirty Adolescent Center near Mount Vernon on July 4, 2008, because of staff concerns about the behavior of three other children, ages 11 and 12. The center is an emergency shelter for children ages 11-18. Boys live there. Girls stay in foster homes but go to the center for day activities.

The suit says that without any physical provocation, Bowers used a Taser on one boy multiple times, including at least once on his neck. Bowers pushed another boy down on his bunk and threatened to sodomize him before shocking him multiple times and causing him to urinate and defecate, the suit says.

Lawler then handcuffed another boy before Bowers shocked him multiple times with the Taser. A 17-year-old girl who was pleading with the deputies to stop was then handcuffed by Lawler, choked and threatened by Bowers and then tossed into a closet, the suit says.

The suit accuses Mulch of either knowingly, or with deliberate indifference, tolerating a "pattern and practice of unreasonable use of force by (his) deputies." ...

A spokesman, Kendall Marlowe, said Friday: "Our job is to protect children. Experience across the country has shown that shocking children with Tasers can result in serious physical and mental injury. Use of these weapons is especially troubling in cases where the children involved have committed no crime and have not even been charged with wrongdoing. We cannot comment on this suit specifically; the complaints speak for itself."

An Illinois State Police spokesman said police investigated the allegations and turned over their results to the Jefferson County state's attorney.

Jefferson County State's Attorney Jeff Bradley said Tuesday that the State Police determined "that there was not any evidence of criminal activity." Bradley, who was elected last year, said his predecessor decided not to prosecute.

The FBI did not begin an investigation after learning that the State Police were looking into the case, an FBI spokesman said.
Here you have a state agency filing suit on behalf of children. That makes it tough to invoke the taser fanboy favorite image of cop-hating, sue-happy criminals.