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|04-01-2011, 02:04 PM||#1|
Ubi bene ibi patria
Member Since: Aug 2007
Granny Tasered by Police Gets Excessive Force Tria
Granny Tasered by Police Gets Excessive Force Trial | Civil Rights
"An Oklahoma judge has granted a grandmother a trial on her claim that three police officers used excessive force by repeatedly zapping her with a Taser when she did not comply with their demands to drop a knife.
“At the time of the incident, [Lona] Varner was 86 years old and in a hospital-type bed hooked up to an oxygen concentrator with a long hose,” U.S. District Judge Stephen P. Friot noted in partially denying the officers' motion for summary judgment.
The two City of El Reno, Okla., officers who fired four Taser rounds at Varner were Thomas Duran and Joseph Sandberg. A third officer, Frank Tinga, was present at the scene and ordered Duran to fire the initial round.
The defense argued that the officers reacted reasonably to a knife-wielding, profanity-spewing woman who was rising from her sickbed to confront them. They had gone to her home on Dec. 22, 2009 after her grandson suggested in a 911 call that she was suicidal.
But accepting Varner's account of the incident as true, Friot said in his opinion that the officers' use of a Taser was not justified because Varner was not suspected of committing a crime, “did not pose an immediate threat to Duran or Sandberg or anyone else,” and was neither actively resisting or fleeing arrest from the officers.
As for Tinga, the judge ruled, “Given Tinga’s close proximity to the deployment of the Tasers and the fact that he initially directed Duran to deploy the Taser on Varner, the court finds that Varner has established [an excessive force] claim against Tinga.” "
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