A Texas police officer has landed in fresh controversy after he used a taser on a 16-year-old student in a bid to break up a lunchtime fight. Commander Jim Stuart from the Round Rock Police Department had been called in after two students from the Stony Point high school started a brawl at the cafeteria. By the time the officer arrived, seven to ten other students too had joined in the fight.
According to the USA Today, the officer gave repeated commands to the group asking them to stop. While most of the youngsters complied, two students continued to fight on, paying no heed to the officer. In the end, the officer had no choice but to use a Taser on one of the students. The move was effective, as the fight stopped as soon as the Taser was used.
The Round Rock police department has justified the action by Jim, saying that at that time he was alone and was left with no other choice but to use the Taser. The 16-year-old student was hit on the stomach by the Taser and was taken to a local hospital to have the Taser prongs removed. The Police department are investigating the incident and will also be reviewing the surveillance footage from the area.
Meanwhile, the incident has raked up a debate among people and civil liberties groups with many people equating the current incident with that of another taser-related incident that happened in 2013. Back then, a 17-year-old Cedar Creek High School student, Noe Nino de Rivera spent 52 days in a medically induced coma after he was stunned using a Taser by a sheriff’s deputy. The situation there was similar, as the deputy was trying to break up a fight. The student fell to the ground after the deputy used the Taser on him and hit his head. The teenager’s family has taken legal action and is now suing.
The use of Tasers on teenagers has been a touchy subject for ages. CNN reports that in the past several civil liberties groups had sent a letter to the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement and called the use of Tasers on children “unconscionable.” Officials from the Stony Point High School as well as parents of children studying there too seem to be divided on the use of the Taser. Some people, like Nora Stevens, who has a child studying at Stony Point, are against the use of Tasers on children. The Stony Point High School Parents, Students, and Teachers Association has clarified that it is against Tasers being used on students. In the past, police have also used Tasers on children as young as eight years old.
Was the officer’s decision to use a Taser on the teenager in this case correct?
[Image via Mirror UK]