Entries in taser (5)


Transgender Woman Files Lawsuit After Getting Tased by Ranger

KGTV/ABC News(NEW YORK) -- A Ramona, Calif., transgender woman has filed a lawsuit in federal court alleging that a Bureau of Land Management ranger used a Taser on her because she used to be a man.

"I consider myself to be a victim of a crime," Brooke Fantelli told ABC News.

Fantelli had driven out to the desert in Imperial County, Calif., for a photo shoot with two models and a photographer in her Datsun racing pickup truck on Oct. 22, 2011.

During the shoot, Fantelli said a Bureau of Land Management ranger pulled up and asked what was going on.  He asked everyone for their identification and for Fantelli's registration.  The group complied.

Fantelli said the ranger, referred to in the complaint as "Ranger Peter," was polite at first, calling her "ma'am" and "miss."  But when he returned her license to her, his demeanor changed.

While she had been female for two years prior to the incident, Fantelli said that she had yet not changed the gender marker on her license.

"When he handed me back my ID, he said, 'You used to be a boy.'  I said yeah," Fantelli said.

From then on, Fantelli said the ranger started referring to her as "mister, sir, and then dude."

While the ranger searched her vehicle, Fantelli said she heard him say, "Please step away while I check its truck."

The photo shoot was allowed to continue, but the ranger stayed, Fantelli said.  After nearly an hour and a half, the models asked Fantelli to go over to his car and ask him if he would mind leaving.

Fantelli said the ranger then told her he was arresting her for being drunk in public.  During the shoot, she had been drinking a beer, she said, but was not drunk.  According to the complaint, the ranger did not conduct sobriety tests before arresting Fantelli.

The situation escalated when other law enforcement officials started arriving on the scene, she said.  She put her hands up in the air to show she was not resisting, she said.

Officers ordered Fantelli to lie face down in the dirt and put her hands behind her back.  When she refused, she was tased.

"He shot me point blank," she said.

The photographer on the shoot captured the incident on her cellphone.  The video shows Fantelli standing with her arms up in the air before being knocked over by the voltage from a Taser dart.  While she was on the ground, the ranger used the Taser again, this time shooting her in the genitals.

"He Tasered my crotch, and then ripped [the Taser probe] out," she said.

Fantelli said she was taken to the hospital and given a blood test, where her blood alcohol content was 0.0, according to the complaint.

Then, she was taken to jail, and charged with public intoxication, violently resisting arrest, and making a terrorist threat -- which is a felony offense.

"In the hospital, the ranger looked at me, and I said, 'You and I are not through yet,'" she said.  "That's what he wrote up the threat as."

While the district attorney has declined to pursue the criminal charges, Fantelli is suing the United States and the ranger himself.

When the incident occurred, the Bureau of Land Management issued a statement condoning "Tasers as a law enforcement tool when threatening behavior is exhibited that poses a risk to public safety, as well as the safety of BLM staff."

"When deploying Tasers, rangers target the subject's lower center mass, legs or back if possible.  It appears the ranger targeted appropriately in this case," the statement said.

BLM spokeswoman Erin Curtis said she could not comment on the pending lawsuit.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Tasered 10-Year-Old Boy Sues Police

Jupiterimages/Thinkstock(TULAROSA, N.M.) -- A 10-year-old boy attending a Tularosa, N.M., Intermediate School’s Career Day expected it to be fun and educational, but instead he ended up in the emergency room.

The boy, identified as R.D., blacked out after receiving 50,000 volts of electricity when struck by a police officer’s Taser gun.

Rachel Higgins, a guardian appointed by the court to protect the child’s privacy filed a lawsuit Oct. 26 in 1st Judicial District Court in Santa Fe County against Police Officer Chris Webb and the New Mexico Department of Public Safety on behalf of R.D., claiming that Webb fired his electronic control weapon at the boy on May 4, 2012.

Webb has been charged with battery, failure to render emergency medical care, unreasonable seizure and excessive force.

Higgins will appear in court to represent the boy because the family members live in a small town and do not want to reveal their identities.

The lawsuit claims police officers drove their patrol cars onto the intermediate school campus, where Webb asked a group of boys which one would like to clean his patrol unit.

R.D. raised his hand to say he did not want to clean the police officer’s car.

Webb then said, according to the lawsuit, “Let me show what happens to people who do not listen to the police.”  He then “shot his Taser gun at the boy’s chest,” said the family’s attorney Shannon Kennedy of the Kennedy Law Firm of Albuquerque.

Kennedy said instead of calling paramedics over, who were also on campus for the Career Day event, Webb pulled the barbs from the Taser out of the boy’s chest.

“He grabbed the wires, he yanked them and it came out of the prongs, and then he went up to me and he ripped the prongs out of my chest,” R.D. told ABC News in September.

The boy said the officer then took him to the restroom to wash off and then to the nurses office.

“R.D.’s mother arrived at the school in absolute shock and rushed him to the emergency room,” said Kennedy.

The lawsuit claims that as a result of the battery, the boy now has symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder.

“He wakes up in the middle of the night holding his chest afraid his heart will stop,” said Kennedy. “He says, 'Mommy I’m afraid I’ll never wake up again.'”

According to the police report, Webb said a group of students had asked him to show them his Taser gun, and when he pulled it out, it accidentally went off and hit R.D. in the chest.

Webb stated in the report that he immediately shut off the power switch, removed the cartridge and threw the Taser gun to the ground.

Calls to the New Mexico Motor Transportation Police Department by ABC News were not returned.

Kennedy said she received a response to a public records request that showed an officer had tested the Taser gun to check for any malfunctions.

“Officer Michael Walker generated a Taser X26 report showing that the Taser had no problems with its battery, that it fired correctly, and that it did not deploy when shaken from side to side,” said Kennedy.

Kennedy said there was no monetary cap for damages in the lawsuit, but because it’s a federal case it could end in a multi-million dollar verdict.

ABC News did reach out to Tularosa New Mexico Intermediate School, but the school said it couldn’t comment because of the pending litigation.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


WATCH: Florida Man Gets Tased for Jaywalking

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(CASSELBERRY, Fla.) -- Police in Casselberry, Fla., say officers were within their rights to use Tasers on a man caught jaywalking because he ignored crosswalk signals and refused to identify himself.

Police say Zikomo Peurifoy and his friend, Noelle Price, were stopped by officers after they were observed crossing a street while the pedestrian light was red.

Authorities say the couple was asked for their IDs, but Peurifoy refused, which is against the law in Florida.

Cops say Peurifoy was warned several times he would be Tased and arrested if he didn’t cooperate.  In a video recorded by Price, officers are seen using Tasers on Peurifoy three times before handcuffing him.

Captain David Del Rosso, deputy chief of the Casselberry police department, says the officers acted properly, and he’s going to use the video for training.  Del Rosso says his officers “handled themselves, they were very polite.  It’s a shame that the defendants here didn’t cooperate.”

According to police, officers found a gun on Peurifoy, but he had a permit for it.  He was charged with resisting arrest with violence and battery on a law enforcement officer.  He was also ticketed for improperly crossing the street.

Price also had a gun, but it was not registered.  She is facing several charges.  The date of the incident was not reported.

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Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Stun Gun Found on Plane

Scott Olson/Getty Images(NEWARK, N.J.) -- The Transportation Security Administration is investigating a case involving a stun gun found on a JetBlue plane last Friday.

According to JetBlue officials, the device was found while cleaning crews were aboard the plane from Flight 1179, after it landed at Newark Liberty International Airport at 10:00 p.m. from Logan Airport in Boston.

The device was found in a seat pocket.

It is unclear how it made it onto the plane. It is also unknown during which flight the stun gun was brought onboard.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Tampa Couple Arrested After They Use Stun Gun to Discipline Teen

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(TAMPA, Fla.) --  A Florida couple who allegedly zapped a 13-year-old boy in their care with a stun gun to discipline him have been charged with child abuse, Tampa police said.

Christopher Lewis, 22, and Deonijhane "Amy" Menifield, 19, were arrested earlier this week, Tampa police spokeswoman Janelle McGregor said. She said Lewis was a relative of the victim, a 13-year-old boy whose name is not being released for confidentiality reasons, and was taking care of him.

Lewis had bought the stun gun about a week before the arrest, police said. "Since that time, both suspects have been using the stun gun as a form of discipline against the victim," according to a police statement.

"The 13-year-old boy told one of the employees at his school what was going on, and the employee called the police," McGregor said."We noticed visible marks on the boy that were consistent with his story." The teenager had been shocked on his upper thigh, cops said.

Lewis and Menifield were arrested at their Tampa home on Tuesday and were both charged with child abuse. Lewis also faces charges of carrying a concealed weapon. Police said that when they arrested him, he was carrying a 12-inch hunting knife in his jacket.

A neighbor, Frances Helms, told ABC affiliate WFTS-TV that she watches the victim and saw the marks on the boy's arms this week. "It looked like a burn mark," said Helms.

"It's terrible, I would never treat a son of mine like that. It shouldn't be that way," she said.

Lewis told the station the teenager was his brother and denied using the stun gun on him. Police would not confirm the exact relationship between Lewis and the child.

Stun guns, originally developed for use by police, have been abused by private citizens in other recent incidents around the country. Last year in New Hampshire a couple were charged with using a stun gun on their three children, and in Jacksonville, Fla., a mother was charged with battery after she zapped a football coach with a stun gun during an argument.

It is legal in the state of Florida for ordinary citizens to possess stun guns, according to Deputy Dave Burney of the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office, as long as the guns are hand-held and do not have a "projectile device" like the TASER guns that are only legal for police use; those fire metal probes strung on thin wires which deliver a debilitating shock at a distance.  

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio