Saturday, June 26, 2010

"Don't Tase me, Sonny!"

This is my 1000th post here at Welcome Back to Pottersville. Since I started it in early July of 2008, that means I've averaged, even including the occasional hard drive frying and loss of access, over 500 posts a year. It's been a wild ride in this, my third go-round. In posts ranging from the soberly journalistic to the snotty, sarcastic and snarky to the outright abusive, I've helped expose some of the biggest outrages ever posted on the internet. But this one story may perhaps take the cake.

Rather than try to reinterpret this unbelievable outrage and violation of the 4th and 14th amendments, I'll just let the attorney for the plaintiffs do his own talking in the most alarming part of a complaint that was filed on the 21st in Canadian County in Oklahoma:
On or about December 22, 2009 the plaintiff Lona M. Varner was in her apartment at 1955 S. Shepard Ave, Apt. 703, El Reno, Oklahoma, in her hospital-type bed. She was also connected to a portable oxygen concentrator with a long hose.

13.A severe winter storm was moving into the area and Ms. Varner’s grandson, Lonnie D. Tinsley, came to the apartment to check on her at the request of his father, now deceased; because Lona Varner is 86 years-old and in marginal health, she takes several prescribed medications daily; Lonnie’s grandmother was unable to tell him exactly when she had taken her meds, he was concerned and called 911 to ask for an emergency medical technician to come to her apartment to evaluate her.

14.As many as ten El Reno police, John Does Nos. 1 - 10, including Thomas Duran, Frank Tinga, and Joseph Sandberg, came to the apartment and pushed their way through the door. Ms. Varner told them to get out of her apartment. Instead, the apparent leader of the police (Duran) instructed another policeman to “Taser her!” He stated in his report that the 86 year-old plaintiff “took a more aggressive posture in her bed,” and that he was fearful for his safety and the safety of others.

15.Lonnie Tinsley told them, “Don’t taze my Granny!” to which they responded that they would taser him; instead, they pulled him out of her apartment, took him down to the floor, handcuffed him and placed him in the back of a police car.

16.The police then proceeded to approach Ms. Varner in her bed and stepped on her oxygen hose until she began to suffer oxygen deprivation.

17.The police then fired a taser at her and only one wire struck her, in the left arm; the police then fired a second taser, striking her to the right and left of the midline of her upper chest and applied high voltage, causing burns to her chest, extreme pain and to pass out.

18.The police then grabbed Ms. Varner by her forearms and jerked hands together,causing her soft flesh to tear and bleed on her bed; they then handcuffed her.

19.The police freed Lonnie Tinsley from his incarceration in the back of the police car and permitted him to accompany the ambulance with his grandmother.

20.Lona Varner was transported by paramedics to Parkland Hospital in El Reno where the burns to her chest and the torn flesh on her arms were treated.

21.Ms. Varner was transported in the early morning hours of December 23, 2009 from Parkland to St. Anthony’s Hospital in Oklahoma City where she was placed in the psychiatric ward at the direction of the El Reno police; she was held there for six days and released.

22.As a result of the wrongful arrest and detention, the plaintiff Lona M. Varner suffered the unlawful restraint of her freedom, bodily injury, assault, battery, the trashing of her apartment, humiliation, loss of personal dignity, infliction of emotional distress and medical bills.

23.As a result of the wrongful arrest and detention, Lonnie D. Tinsley suffered the unlawful restraint of his freedom, assault, battery, humiliation, lost of person dignity, negligent infliction of emotional distress by witnessing the physical abuse of his grandmother and intentional infliction of emotional distress.

24.By the actions described above, the defendants deprived the plaintiffs of clearly established and well-settled constitutional rights:
a.Freedom from the deprivation of liberty without due process of law;
b.Freedom from the seizure of theirs persons without due process of the law.

25.The individual defendants subjected the plaintiffs to these deprivations of their rights either maliciously, or by acting with a reckless disregard for whether the plaintiffs’ rights would be violated by their actions.

26.As a direct and proximate result of the acts and omissions of the individual defendants, which were intentional, or done with gross negligence, Lona M. Varner and Lonnie D. Tinsley were forced to endure great pain, mental suffering, fear and humiliation, were deprived of their physical liberty, were forced to incur legal and medical expenses, and suffered personal injury and mental injuries as described above.

You don't need to be fluent in legalese to understand what the plaintiff's attorney is saying here.

Lonnie Tinsley was told by his late father to check up on his grandmother during a bad snowstorm. He calls 911 and asks for paramedics to assess her condition. Instead, at least 10 cops show up, force their way in the house and then tase an 86 year-old, bed-ridden woman in ill health because she told them, understandably, to leave her house.

Then, under the pretense of fearing for their safety, these peace officers then tase the old woman not once but twice, step on her oxygen hose until she began suffering from hypoxia, handcuff the grandson just for saying, "Don't tase my granny!", throw him in the back of a cruiser, then handcuff the old lady, tearing her flesh in the process then stick her in a mental ward for almost a week...

...all because "she showed a more aggressive posture in her bed"???

Believe it or not, this isn't the first time an elderly person, not to mention pregnant women and even the blind, had been tased recently.

So what are we to glean from this incident in Oklahoma last year?

  • That there's no such thing as adequate back up even when a bed-ridden 86 year-old woman hooked up to an oxygen tank is involved.

  • That police officers should always be used in lieu of medical professionals such as paramedics and EMT's who are rigorously trained to assess emerging medical conditions.

  • You can never tase an 86 year-old woman enough times if she resorts to harsh language.

  • Telling the police to leave your house during an inexplicable home invasion is grounds for having your sanity doubted.

  • Lastly: With these big bad police officers tasing little kids, old women, and the handicapped, why do we keep calling our emerging police state a "brave, new world"?


    At June 26, 2010 at 7:45 PM, Blogger Cossack said...

    Fer cryin out loud! It isn't enough to repeatedly taser a bed-ridden invalid, the PIGS just had to stand on the hose of her oxygen machine till they induced hypoxia!

    Now, tell me again about the "land of the brave and the home of the free"!

    At June 27, 2010 at 10:58 AM, Anonymous Juan Moment said...

    1000 - Congrats JP, every one of them worth reading.

    Cops are bastards, its the same all over the world. Here in Australia anyway. The best part is how only in the rarest of cases the pricks are held accountable.

    Take this story for example. An elderly aboriginal man was literally cooked to death in a prisoner transport van, when locked up for hours on their way through scorching desert country. The aircon in the rear of the van wasn't working and the two fuckwit guards didn't bother to check on him, despite his desperate knocking and shouting. Outcome? One dead Aboriginal and no charges to be laid against the officers. Unbelievable.

    At June 27, 2010 at 6:55 PM, Anonymous P'ville reader said...

    On a related note, did you read any of this series in the Village Voice on pigcorruption in NYC? Nothing has changed since Serpico. And the bastards in blue treat their own dissidents as evilly as they do the perps in waiting (aka "civilians"). At least the NYPD did not shoot this whistle-blower. Yet. But what he says about the contempt cops show for the citizens they are supposedly serving and protecting is revolting. It's why I have nothing but contempt for cops.

    At June 28, 2010 at 1:29 AM, Anonymous grouchomarxist said...

    Good thing they had a "non-lethal" alternative to use on that obstreperous bed-ridden granny. Who knows what kind of major heat she could have been hiding in her bedpan?

    Seriously though: Where do they find these cops?

    Plus, you'd think that in an allegedly macho culture like the police these clowns would never be allowed to live such a spectacularly cowardly act down. But I guess that's just my incurable optimism speaking ...

    At June 28, 2010 at 1:36 AM, Blogger Sharon said...

    Let me guess.

    Granny & Sonny aren't white, right?

    At June 30, 2010 at 4:21 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

    I still cannot believe that they did that. Totally absurd. What exactly does an "aggressive posture" look like if the poor old woman was lying down? On top of tazing her, they stepped on her Portable Oxygen Concentrators ? They should be charged with attempted murder! Stepping on her oxygen supply is tantamount to choking her. I can only hope that these megalomaniacs face swift justice.


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