A child was tased by cops in South Dakota, and now her mother is suing the police and the City of Pierre. Dawn Stenstrom is claiming that the method used on her 8-year-old daughter was excessive force.
On October 4, 2013, Dawn’s daughter had been brandishing a knife in a dangerous manner and her babysitter had called the police. Everyone involved agreed that the child had been a danger to herself.
When the police had arrived, they had warned the child before firing the weapons.
According to the South Dakota mother’s lawsuit:
“Within seconds… the force of the electricity shot through her body, lifted her, and threw her against a wall. After the officers had stunned (the girl) into high voltage submission, they pulled the fish-hook like Taser darts from her chest, gave her emergency medical attention, bandaged the holes left by the razor-sharp hooks, and called the ambulance.”
The South Dakota mother considered the act of having her 70-pound child tased excessive, but the police saw it differently. Former police chief Robert Grandpre claims that the actions taken by his men “might possibly have saved this girl’s life.”
Negotiate? Pierre, SD: 4 police officers. Child’s weight 70 pounds. RT Mom sues after cops tased her 8-year-old http://t.co/Hr9gt0WybJ
— Michelle (@mmwlawtaos) August 9, 2014
Hughes County state’s attorney Wendy Kloeppner stated that what happened was necessary given the situation.
Dana Hanna, Stenstrom’s attorney, thinks quite the opposite:
“One distracts her, another grabs the girl’s arm. That’s what they should have done. She had a kitchen paring knife, but hadn’t cut. She was a kid throwing a tantrum. They should have made an attempt to grab the kid, not use a weapon to throw her into a wall. A Taser’s not meant to kill, but it does kill. Many people have died after being hit by a Taser by cops. It never should be used on a little child. She certainly wasn’t presenting a danger to officers.”
Two of the officers were apparently trained professionals for the specific situation, one a Taser instructor and the other a hostage negotiator. The child was simply throwing a tantrum and was in more danger of harming herself than anyone else. After the attack, the child, known only as L.M.J., will be given mental and emotional counseling in order to further prevent this incident and any further damage resulting from it.
Patrick Duffy, co-counsel to Dawn Stenstrom’s attorney, addressed the long-term effects of the attack:
“What is it really going to honestly do for the rest of her life as she has to interact with authority figures and law enforcement? What’s it going to be like first time she looks in the rear view mirror and law enforcement gives her a speeding ticket? She won’t shake that.”
Was having the child tased a necessary precaution, or did the South Dakota police make the wrong assumption?
[Image via digitaltrends]