17 year old boy tazered 12 times by cops

Discussion in 'Freedom and Liberty' started by MbRodge, May 23, 2008.

  1. MbRodge

    MbRodge Monkey+++


    :28 AM CDT on Sunday, May 18, 2008

    [SIZE=-1]By Donna Fielder / Staff Writer[/SIZE]

    Blake Dwyer remembers pain:
    The agonizing burn of electrical shock.
    [​IMG] DRC/Gary Payne
    Blake Dwyer, 17, of Shady Shores, had an epileptic seizure while at a friend's house in Corinth last July 18. After he came out of his seizure he became panicked and terrified because of a condition known as postictal psychosis. Paramedics head tied him down to a gurney, but in his panicked condition, he hit a paramedic, which led Corinth police to use a Taser on him. His brother, Trvavis Baker, 17, tried to stop in to calm him down during this but he was told to get out of the way. View larger Photo store

    And shouting.
    And fear.
    “I thought a swarm of wasps was after me,” the 17-year-old Guyer High School athlete said. “I was trying to fight them off.”
    He doesn’t remember the epileptic seizure he suffered July 18, 2007, when he was 16.
    He doesn’t remember fighting to keep from being tied to a stretcher or hitting a paramedic.
    His brother, Travis Baker, 17, remembers all of it. He recalls screaming at Corinth police to stop shocking Blake with a Taser. His mother, Deana, remembers hearing Travis crying on the telephone.
    “He was saying, ‘Blake is having a seizure, and they’re hurting him,’” she said.
    And in case they should forget Blake’s experience, they have photographs of 12 separate sets of burns from the double posts of a Taser.
    Corinth police did not respond to a message asking for comment about the incident. Corinth city attorney Michael Bucek won’t release records because the city expects litigation, he said. He did say there was no internal affairs investigation into the incident.
    “The only thing I can say is that we believe this is a frivolous lawsuit with no merit,” Bucek said.
    No lawsuit has been filed yet. Deana Dwyer sought the advice of Denton lawyer Rocky Haire, who said he has been trying to work with Corinth police for an out-of-court resolution with no luck so far.
    “Deana just wants them to acknowledge they did it wrong,” Haire said. “She tried to tell them their officers needed some training on what to do with epileptic seizures and postictal psychosis, but they just blew her off.”
    Haire contacted an investigator with the Texas Municipal Intergovernmental Risk Pool, which insures city governments against lawsuits. Haire said the investigator told him that a check of the Taser shows it was fired 15 times within five or six minutes that day.
    Mike Rains, a representative of the TMI Risk Pool, said there is an ongoing investigation into the incident, and talks have been initiated with Haire. He would not confirm the extent of the Taser use.
    “I believe it was a number of times,” Rains said.
    According to information from the Epilepsy Foundation, epilepsy is a neurological condition that sometimes produces brief disturbances in the normal electrical functions of the brain with intermittent bursts of much more intense electrical energy. The resulting seizure may affect a person’s consciousness, movements or sensations for a short time. A person suffering a seizure will fall down, froth at the mouth and jerk uncontrollably.
    Postictal psychosis following a seizure may include delusions, depressive or manic behavior, aggression or bizarre thoughts and behavior.
    Tasers can be used in different ways. A Taser has a cartridge that sends two prongs out on wires. When the trigger is pulled, the probes burst out of the cartridge and can travel up to 21 feet to reach the target. Then electricity travels though the wires and arcs between the probes.
    That affects the sensory nerves, and the electricity overrides the central nervous system, which means the muscles can’t move. The person falls to the ground, briefly immobilized.
    Or, the officer has the option of pulling off the cartridge and simply pressing the Taser against the skin. That causes electrical pain but does not immobilize and is called a “drive stun.” It is a way to control someone using pain.
    Blake Dwyer had been experiencing grand mal epileptic seizures for about a year, possibly brought on, his mother said, by a concussion.
    He and Travis spent the preceding night with friends. They admit they smoked marijuana from a pipe provided by one of the other boys but insist they used no other illegal substances. Blake’s blood workup the next morning showed only traces of marijuana in his system.
    They were getting ready for football practice about 10:30 a.m. Travis said he saw Blake bend over to tie his tennis shoes.
    “He looked up, and his eyes rolled back in his head,” Travis said. “He fell over and started frothing at the mouth and jerking. I knew he was having a seizure. I was there when he had the others, and I knew what to do.”
    Travis said he had learned to calm Blake, who comes out of the seizures with postictal psychosis, a condition that accompanies seizures in some patients to varying degrees. Blake becomes disoriented and frightened, he said. He panics and tries to fight, especially if someone tries to restrain him.
    On that morning, Travis began talking to Blake, and some of his fear subsided. Someone at the house called 911, and an ambulance arrived. Paramedics told Travis to step back, and they strapped Blake to a gurney.
    “I tried to tell them that he’s claustrophobic and he couldn’t stand to be strapped down,” Travis said. “But they wouldn’t listen to me.”
    According to the paramedic report, Blake was combative. He was making incoherent sounds and fighting against the restraints. He freed his arms and, still strapped to the gurney by the lower part of his body, he began flailing his arms. He struck a firefighter in the face.
    According to the ambulance report, a paramedic found the marijuana pipe in Blake Dwyer’s pocket. Haire says Blake was wearing gym shorts that didn’t have a pocket at the time. The report stated that he was very combative and uncontrollable. After finding the pipe, the report indicates the paramedics believed he may have been overdosing on narcotics.
    The ambulance team asked for Corinth police.
    According to the police report provided by the Dwyers’ lawyer when Corinth police declined to release it, an officer Tasered Blake Dwyer only twice.
    “[Reporting officer] issued a ‘drive stun’ with the Taser to Dwyer’s upper back to gain compliance so he would stop fighting with the fireman. … Once inside the ambulance Dwyer was once again issued a ‘drive stun’ to gain compliance,” the report states.
    The paramedic report also mentions two instances of the officer using the Taser.
    But photographs taken the next day show 24 post burns, representing 12 separate instances of the posts of the Taser being applied to Blake Dwyer’s back and underarm.
    “The police were saying he was having a ‘bad trip,’” Haire said. “But the blood work only showed trace amounts of THC, evidence of his having smoked pot the night before — no trace of any opiate or psychedelic drug that would cause a bad trip.”
    Deana Dwyer said it took several days for her son to act completely normal again after the experience.
    “I’m mad at him over the marijuana,” she said. “But smoking marijuana the night before had nothing to do with his seizure. He had them before, and he’s had three since.”
    The paramedics took Blake to a local hospital and then he was transferred to Children’s Medical Center Dallas. A neurologist who checked Blake on July 24 wrote, “Robert [Blake] Dwyer has epilepsy with postictal confusion. (Don’t try to restrain him. Talk calmly and try to guide him to a safe area.)”
    Deana Dwyer said she visited Corinth police to try to figure out what happened. She is not sure which supervisor she spoke to, she said, but she was not reassured.
    “He told me he had a possible kidnapping to worry about. He told me he was going on vacation. He said he’d look into it but he was really busy right now. I called later, but they said he wasn’t in.
    “Tasing Blake was one of the worst things they could have done,” she said. “He comes out of the seizures not knowing where he is and scared to death. Shocking him 12 times didn’t calm him down. On the phone, I could hear him yelling ‘OK, OK, OK, OK, OK, OK, OK’ and then screaming when they would hit him again. If it wasn’t helping, why did they keep doing it?”
    Blake wasn’t a criminal the police were trying to arrest, Haire said. He was a 16-year-old boy having a seizure, and he needed help.
    “I have written letters to the editor commending police and firefighters,” Haire said. “I understand what a thankless job it is. I’m not trying to make their job harder. But when I saw that he had been hit with a Taser 12 times, something cracked inside. I couldn’t believe it. It is an absolute abuse of power.”
    Haire said he is upset that both the police and paramedic reports stated that his client was Tasered twice when there is abundant proof and several witnesses to prove that was not true. And he believes the police should have addressed Deana Dwyer’s concerns instead of ignoring them.
    Someone who knows Haire saw her plight that day in the police lobby and recommended she contact him.
    “I’m trying to raise awareness. Somebody told her, ‘You need to contact Rocky Haire.’ If they hadn’t done that, she wouldn’t have complained.
    “There’s not a lot of money to be made by suing a city,” Haire said. “The law is designed to make it not worth it. But we're not just going to quit on this.”
  2. monkeyman

    monkeyman Monkey+++ Moderator Emeritus Founding Member

    While it OBVIOUSLY was not handled correctly WITH knowing all the facts and Monday morning quarterbacking it, I have to say that I can see some justification of it BASED ON what the cops most likely knew at the time. Im vagely familiar with epilepsy but I know I had never even heard of the phsycosis related to it before and would imagine most likely neither had the cops. There was apparently reason to think drugs were involved (told by EMTs was an OD so apparently they didnt recognize it either and/or HAD found the pipe the family claims wasnt there) and he was behaveing violently. So based on the info they had at the time (a friend/family member yelling something in the confusion is likely not to be heard and could scarcely be taken as facts if evidence indicates otherwise in a violent situation like 'stop he's a good boy and wouldnt do it') so I could understand them thinking they were dealing with a drugy ODing or on a bad trip and needing to controle him and useing force to do so. On top of that if a person is attacking you the central matter isnt really why but rather to stop them. Since, in our society, if the EMTs let him go and he ran into traffic running from the 'swarm' then they would be sued and or jailed. Given the situation I dont see much in the way of any possible real good outcomes once 911 was called. With family there who knew how to controle him in that state they needed to do so and let him come out of it before calling folks in who were clueless.

    Dont get me wrong, I still think tassers should be banned from law enforcement since they obviously cant learn to use them properly. If they didnt have the taser they would have most likely used physical fource to restrain him like grabbing his arms and restraining him (and yes have had to do a good bit of that with drunks and folks that were high as a bouncer when younger) but since they have the tasers they use them. A person argues and dosent want to comply imediately, before tasers the officers would try to talk them down and get them to comply to avoid the work of wresteling them down, if that failed wrestel them down and /or use the baton but with the tasers it comes out up front. It dosent SEEM as violent so it gets used as a first resort in situations were almost no cop would feel justified useing their baton.
  3. MbRodge

    MbRodge Monkey+++

    I think you hit the nail on the head with that. LEO's use it as a first resort. In this situation just taking a step back and letting the boy's family "talk him down" would have resolved the problem, but they immediately went to the taser. Two full grown men should be able to overpower even a drugged up kid.
  4. ozarkgoatman

    ozarkgoatman Resident goat herder

    When I was in the Navy we had a resevist that was drugged up and voilent. Between my partner, the SP's and myself we were able to get the situation under control by talking him down and getting him strapped on the gurney. But that was before tazers came on the seine and the only other option was shoting him.

  5. monkeyman

    monkeyman Monkey+++ Moderator Emeritus Founding Member

    In fairness to the LEOs I could see why they would not just 'let the family handel it' since with them working on the assumption he is drugged up and at any rate violent if he goes nutts on his brother and bashes in his skull thinking he is an alien zombie or some such then their butts will be in a sling. That said, it would seem that if possible it would have been much better if they had tried to talk him down and if not then especialy since he was apparently already partialy strapped down then restrain his free hand and strap that down as well.

    Tasers are marketed basicly as being a means of subdueing a violent person with litle risk of permenant harm and as such far to many LEOs seem to think its harmless to use it and will resort to a taser much sooner than they would ANY other form of physical confrontation. I think that is where the problem comes from. I would say that in most cases it would be reasonable to be a first resort WHEN physical force is REQUIRED, problem being it seems harmless and basicly risk free so they get used far more readily. They would generaly be a better option than a baton or bullet for a person activly/physicaly resisting a needed arrest but when it gets me is when they use them like in this instance (AS IT READS) that the kid was strapped down and only had one hand free and there was an officer and multiple EMTs so restraining his one free arm hand to hand should have been a pretty simple matter or when the tasers are used just because someone is asking what the hell is going on or some such when an explaination or a hand on a shoulder would most likely get the desired result.

    It just appears to me that the 'no risk' appearance of it creates a situation where when in the hands of a person trying to maintain a position of authority it creates a mental disconect where it dose not hardly even register to them as violence and so gets WAY over used. I havent heard so much about this with the stun guns and tasers in the hands of private citizens so I think its the combination of the no risk/non-violent impression and authority position that creates the problem.
  6. BigO01

    BigO01 Monkey+++ Founding Member

    I think that unfortunately the hard cold facts of reality play into cases like this .

    Fact of the matter is whether it's the economy , illegal immigrants , drugs whatever violent crime is on the rise and it doesn't matter if you're a rural LEO or a big city cop .

    The police never know when the next emergency is going to arise and they simply don't have to time or luxury of playing around with a possible or even truly violent person even if their actions wouldn't appear to be a serious threat to large numbers of people .

    The cops have the ugly choice of getting things wrapped up now and moving on as quickly as they can because the next call may very well be a life or death situation .

    Take your pick either you have someone who were in many cases obviously in the wrong getting tased complaining or a women crying because her family member died perhaps due to a slow response time .

    In the above case the kid admits illegal drug use drug use that may have contributed to his seizure , when you know you're doing something illegal in my eyes you don't have much legitimacy on your side when it comes to playing the victim for anything .

    I think garbage like this turns even good decent cops against those they are suppose to protect .
  7. monkeyman

    monkeyman Monkey+++ Moderator Emeritus Founding Member

    The problem with your logic IMHO though is that when the LEOs start getting violent when it isnt needed just to wrap things up so they can get to the next call then it simply means the people are LESS safe because they are then in danger from the LEOs as well as the BGs. I know for just that reason when I lived in the city I always hated to see the cops since they tended to be a greater threat than the 'bad guys'.
  8. Tackleberry

    Tackleberry Krieg Hündchen

    17-year old kid? I was in the Army at the age of 17 with an M16 in my hands! If it were a 12 year old I could see the outrage, but not 17. Illegal drug use?

    When the cops arrive on scene, they usually don't know what the heck the story is....they have to try to figure it out on scene in a quick manner.

    I am not a fan of tasers, but lets us not blow this out of proportion.

    I arrested a 17 year old a week ago for DUI. Should I have let him go for being a 'poor 17-year-old-kid'? Maybe I should have let the 'poor kid' go so he could crash into your car and kill your family??! Not on my watch.
  9. ghrit

    ghrit Bad company Administrator Founding Member

    No, you should not have left him off, not by any means. However, the case is different, and chances are pretty good that tasering wasn't called for. (If you were alone and he was in any way violent, I could not object.)
  10. monkeyman

    monkeyman Monkey+++ Moderator Emeritus Founding Member

    Dont get me wrong, Im not saying the cops shouldnt have restrained him if he couldnt (due to his not reacting to it or imediate threat) be talked down, and Im also not refering to JUST this case so much as the wider spread problems with taser use. The 80 year old woman tasered for honking her horn as she got out of her car in KC a while back, people tasered for asking whats going on when being ticketed or some such, the 'dont taze me bro' kid (idiot yeah, requireing taseing no) with 5 officers there who could have escorted him out...just seems to be constantly over used. Im not saying that the people all need to be smiled at and sent on their way but a LOT of folks get tasered where I fail to see any real need for it.

    I also realize that the department and individual officer makes a HUGE difference in how things are handled and there are MANY excelent officers out there who serve and protect, unfortunatly there are also far to many who, well, dont.

    While not all officers over use them there are WAY to many who do over use tasers in cases where even those same officers would have more sence than to start waleing on them with a club let alone shoot them.

    Oh and for my part, if they NEED force used against them because they are getting violent and such then I would rather see them clubbed anyway so they get to remember 'stupid hurts' longer.
  11. Tackleberry

    Tackleberry Krieg Hündchen

    The marks may be a reminder for them to behave in some cases, but in others it is proof that the police 'brutalised' them. In other words, leaving marks on a person sets an officer up for a civil lawsuit.

    I am in agreement about the taser. It is widely overused...which is a shame because it has much potential of used properly.
  12. MbRodge

    MbRodge Monkey+++

    Here is yet another story:


    Posted by Jonathan Maus (Editor) on June 11th, 2008 at 4:20 pm

    Photo from the scene at SE 7th and Alder​

    last night.
    (Photo: Ian Stude)​

    A Portland man says he was tackled, pushed off his bike, and then tasered repeatedly by a Portland Police officer in Southeast Portland last night because he didn’t have a front light on his bike.
    The incident occurred around 9:30pm on SE 7th Street, just north of SE Morrison Ave. Phil Sano (a.k.a. “Rev Phil”) says he was riding along and felt cold, so he went to zip up his jacket. Then, in an email he sent me just hours after the incident, he wrote,
    “Across the street a man in all black shouted at me and started walking my way. I stopped pedaling, but didn’t stop because my hands were not on my brakes. He then sprinted, lunged and tackled me. I then scuffled to separate him and stood apart from him in a defensive position.”
    Then, Sano says, he was tasered several times.

    Phil Sano in April 2008.​

    (Photo © J. Maus)​

    “I felt a sharp sting in my back and heard a repetitive clicking. I turned around to see that I was being tasered!”
    At that point, Sano maintains he still did not know what was going on and he repeatedly asked the officers to explain what he had done wrong. At that point, Sano says two officers were holding him down and he could still feel the taser charge flowing into his back.
    “I was still freaked out and yelled again, why are you shooting me?”
    Sano says the cops yelled for him to “get down”, but that he still had no idea who was accosting him. He wrote, “It was pretty dark and they were wearing all black without any sort of shiny badge…. They looked kinda’ like cops, but generally cops do not tackle bikers unless it is Critical Mass.”
    According to Sano, he was tasered “point blank” in the chest and the lower back and that he began to “spasm out of control as the surge of electricity involuntarily constricted” his muscles.
    “…the cop took two steps after him, grabbed him by the shirt, yanked him off the bike, ran hum up the sidewalk and slammed him against the wall and then right away started tasing him.”
    –Diana Spartis (she witnessed the entire incident)

    After pleading repeatedly for them to stop, Sano says they continued and that, “without question, I could tell they enjoyed seeing me become so helpless, so weak. It was humiliating.”
    Once the tasering stopped, Sano said he laid in a small puddle of his own urine, breathing irregularly and “seething with rage”.
    “I can still feel their knee on my neck as I write this, but even then I knew they were in the wrong… really, really ****ing wrong.” He added, “There was no cause for such violence; I was not harming anyone and I made sure that everyone within earshot knew it.”
    Sano says that all the while, a barb from the taser remained lodged in his chest. Luckily, he remembers, a passing ambulance heard him screaming, stopped on the scene, and removed the electrode from his chest. Sano says that the EMT, “was very concerned” that his speeding heart rate would not slow down.
    Once everything calmed down, Sano says the cops told him that he was stopped because he didn’t have a front light.
    Sano admits he didn’t have his front light on his bike, because someone had stolen the cradle it attaches to. He says the cops found his light in his fannypack a few minutes later.
    According to Sano’s recollection of the incident, he heard Officer Smith say, “You should have stopped when I told you to. Then none of this would be necessary.”
    A written statement just released by the Portland Police Bureau’s Public Information Officer Brian Schmautz says that the officers were in uniform and were dealing with another woman and had “turned on their lights to alert traffic while they talked to her.”*
    Then, writes Schmautz, they saw Sano roll by without a light and, “One of the officers told Sano to stop, but Sano ignored him.” Here is the rest of Schmautz’s statement:

    A photo of where one of the ​

    tasers entered Sano’s body.

    (Photo courtesy Phil Sano) ​

    “The officer, then reached out to stop Sano and they began to struggle. Sano refused to comply with any of the officers orders and continued to resist until additional officers arrived. The officers attempted to Taser Sano, but it was ineffective because of Sano’s clothing.
    Sano was eventually arrested and taken to jail. Sano apparently admitted he had been drinking, but was not given field sobriety tests because the officers were not arresting him for DUII. FYI, the officers checked Sano’s history and learned that the Police Bureau had given Sano a warning for a bike light and a free bike light in the past.”
    Diana Spartis, a 28 year-old Sellwood resident, was being cited for not having a light on her bike when the incident took place. On the phone with me this morning, she said Officer Smith was telling her about the importance of having a light when Sano rode by on the other side of the street.
    Spartis says the Officer noticed Sano also didn’t have a front light then yelled at him to stop. She then told me, “He [Sano] didn’t stop immediately, and the cop took two steps after him, grabbed him by the shirt, yanked him off the bike, ran him up the sidewalk and slammed him against the wall and then right away started tasing him.”
    Sartis recollects that she was “maybe 50 feet away” and says, “I did not see him [Sano] do anything physical to the cops… he wasn’t cooperating fully, but he also wasn’t doing anything that should have provoked them that much. He was screaming, ‘no! no!, why are you doing this?’”
  13. kckndrgn

    kckndrgn Monkey+++ Moderator Emeritus Founding Member

    I actually could see something like that happening to me. I am completely deaf in my left ear and I'm going deaf in my right. If you have a cop that will ASS*U*ME that I was of normal hearing and tell me to do something in a noisy environment, well, I may not hear them at all or I will not understand them.

    If someone grabs me from behind, I will be on the defensive. It may not turn out good for me.
  14. CBMS

    CBMS Looking for a safe place

    Well If a cop in all black tackles me off of my bike without verbally and visually flagging me, my first thought in my mind would be Oh ****. The next thought would have to be "left knee to stomach, right hand to ear and yank hard". It only takes 8 pounds of pressure to rip off someones ear... and it usually makes them stop what their doing and rethink their actions. (PS dont bite, you'll steal Tyssons glory)
  15. MbRodge

    MbRodge Monkey+++

    Hopefully the beginning of change in regards to taser use!


    First courtroom victory against Taser ever. LEOs testified on the stand that they were not told that tasers could be dangerous. Hopefully Taser begins to tell law enforcement agencies the dangers of Tasers, thus opening THEM up to prosecution.
  16. Quigley_Sharps

    Quigley_Sharps The Badministrator Administrator Founding Member

    man take the tazer away???? shit there goes all the fun.............
  17. Tango3

    Tango3 Aimless wanderer

    I don't buy the time crunch argument as legal....( i.e,Grandma's cat is in the tree: I get it down for you BANG!!!). Jaywalking? keep your ticket. get your hands off me mo'fo: BANG! Can't take time! could be a homicide around the block. This kid was a patient,not a criminal under arrest..

    I believe there is alot to the affect of the "less than lethal" name.. Israeli snipers used a suppressed 10/22 for "riot control, it was supposed to be used sparingly, ( on leaders) they had to rethink after a study showed the "less than lethal"caused it to be used more frequently, with very lethal results...

    In the recent Israeli-Palestinian clashes began in 2000, the Ruger resumes it's original role as a less lethal riot control weapon. However, it's usage in this role was rather controversial this time. After several incidents involving the death of Palestinians by the Ruger fire, the IDF conducted a field experiment in the Ruger at the IDF Sniper School in Mitkan Adam under the supervision of the IDF Judge Advocate General (JAG). The test showed that the Ruger was more lethal then thought especially in upper body injuries. Also, since it's suppressed and was considered less lethal by the troops, the soldiers were much more likely to use the Ruger loosely then intended.
    As a result of this test, the JAG reclassified the Ruger as a lethal weapon. As a lethal weapon, the usage of the Ruger in riot control is much more limited today. In the IDF Center Command it was completely prohibited to use and the IDF South Command it's deployment was cut down dramatically.
    Civilian sniper with the
  18. nightshade7206

    nightshade7206 Monkey+++


    This kind of stuff makes me sick!
    Though it may not be common knowledge that most people suffer extreme panic, fear, anxiety, and or disorientation immediately following a seizure. Officers and paramedics are informed about these things. Just like someone swerving all over the road may not be drunk but having a heart attack or some other illness. I understand they walk into situations nearly blind every day. However, there was more then enough man power there to restrain this child.
  19. boscoman

    boscoman Monkey++

    As a Paramedic in a very busy area ( I run over 1500 ALS calls in a year) I am appalled by the actions of the medics on this call. I can't see a thing that they did right. 1st job is to calm the scene & talk to family or witnesses to find out what happened. You can't treat a patient properly with out information. 2nd, with seizure patients is to get oxygen in high doses to their brains to help it recover faster. These 2 things alone can usually bring things to a positive end alone. A worse case scenario were a patient is violent; man power to restrain the patient & either Valium or Haldol to take the fight right out of them. While I hate being Monday morning quarter backed, or doing the same to others, I hate incompetence even more. I have been a medic in one of the busiest departments in the US for 21 years & spend almost all of my time training new medics these days. From what I read here, the medics on that call are in need of serious training both medically and on community relations. I wont even comment on the cops.
  20. Thunderbird

    Thunderbird Monkey++

    Electric cattle prods were taken off the market by the insistance that animals were being abused by their handlers. Guess we are less than animals.
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