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Police stun 75-year-old woman

Discussion in 'Legal' started by matt33, Oct 20, 2004.

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  1. matt33

    matt33 Member

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    Police stun 75-year-old
    Rock Hill chief says Taser was used after woman attacked officer
    By Matt Garfield The Herald

    http://www.heraldonline.com/local/story/4124708p-3890580c.html

    The Rock Hill Police Department is investigating why an officer used an electric stun gun on a 75-year-old woman who refused to leave a nursing home where she had gone to visit an ailing friend.
    The woman, Margaret Kimbrell, said she suffered bruises on her leg and face after she was knocked to the floor by the force of the weapon, called a Taser.

    Police Chief John Gregory said Tuesday the department is reviewing whether Officer Hattie Macon's use of the Taser was appropriate -- a step that is taken in unusual or high-profile cases.

    "On face value, it looks like it was," he said. "We have a person who was asked to leave, who refused and who attempted to assault the officer."

    Gregory did not say when the review would be completed. Kimbrell said Tuesday she's considering legal action against the department.

    Kimbrell went to EdenGardens of Rock Hill, a retirement home on Constitution Boulevard, Friday evening to visit a friend who was scheduled to have colon surgery this week, she said.

    Soon after she arrived, a staff member called police to have her removed for trespassing. A relative of the friend told an EdenGardens administrator she did not want Kimbrell there, said Larry Boesen, the home's executive director.

    Police and Kimbrell offer two different versions of what happened after police arrived.

    According to the police report, Kimbrell was sitting in a chair in a waiting area when Macon, 35, ordered her to leave several times. Kimbrell refused, jerking her arms away when Macon tried to lead her toward the door.

    Police say Kimbrell eventually got up but walked toward the cafeteria after spotting someone she knew. At that point, the officer blocked Kimbrell and told her she was under arrest. Kimbrell then swung her arm at the officer, according to the police report.

    That's when Macon used the Taser and placed Kimbrell under arrest.

    Kimbrell on Tuesday disagreed with that version of events.

    She said she did not swing her arm or threaten Macon.

    "As weak as I am, how could I do that?" said Kimbrell, who has arthritis and suffered six broken ribs in a recent fall in her back yard. "Maybe I was trespassing, but I didn't know it. I thought they would understand."

    She said she got upset because no one would tell her where her friend was -- or even if he was alive.

    "I thought he had died," she said. "I was trying to keep from crying."

    Kimbrell said Macon pressed the Taser to her back and used it during the exchange, causing Kimbrell to hit the floor.

    "It was the worst pain," said Kimbrell. "It felt like something going through my body. I thought I was dying. I said, 'Lord, let it be over.'"

    Kimbrell said she asked the officer and others at the scene to dial 911 because she was hurt. According to the police report, no one was injured in the incident.

    Macon could not be reached for comment.

    Kimbrell, of 1211 Meadow Lakes Road, was taken to the police department and later issued a citation for resisting police and trespassing. She spent three hours in a police holding area until her daughter, Donna, picked her up around 10 p.m., she said.

    Kimbrell said she later learned her ailing friend was out taking a walk during the incident.

    Review has been launched

    According to the department's policy manual, cases when officers can use Tasers include when a suspect is threatening to punch or kick, or when officers "reasonably believe a suspect poses a credible threat."

    "I have to believe at that moment, that's what the officer had to believe," Gregory said. "We have to look at what was reasonable under the circumstances. The determination about somebody being right or wrong has not been made."

    Macon, who joined the department almost 18 months ago, remains on duty, said Gregory. The department has received no previous complaints about her performance.

    "I can't overemphasize how concerned I am," said Gregory. "This case is getting a lot of attention, and I understand that ... If we find excessive force was used, we will take the appropriate disciplinary action."

    The department is aware that Kimbrell and her family are planning to file a formal complaint, Gregory said.

    Tasers prove effective

    Nearly all of Rock Hill's 110 police officers have carried Tasers since last year, Gregory said. They've been used 57 times this year with no injuries reported, he said.

    Before they are issued the device, officers must complete a four-hour training course that includes having a Taser used on them. They also must take a refresher course once a year.

    Macon took the refresher course last month, said Capt. Charles Cabannis.

    The devices have proven safer and more effective than batons and pepper spray, Gregory said.

    "We have noticed a substatial reduction in injuries to suspects and officers since we've used them," he said. "It's kept us from having to fight people. We haven't had to beat anybody with clubs."

    Gregory said an official from the S.C. Criminal Justice Academy had called Tuesday morning to ask if the department could lead a Taser training exercise for other state agencies -- a sign that the department's policies are well-respected.

    "They're using us as an example," Gregory said. "We have a strict policy."
     
  2. Zrex

    Zrex Member

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    Why is it that the newspaper feels compelled to print the address of the old woman who got Tasered, but wont print the address of the cop who did it?
     
  3. Shield529

    Shield529 Member

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    These ##%@% morons with badges are not helping my cause to prove that most cops are good people and normal citizens.
     
  4. wasrjoe

    wasrjoe Member

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    ASSUMING everything being reported in this case to be factual, it sounds like there was definitely excessive force used.

    I'm sorry, but unless something is being left out (which is a distinct possibility), I don't see how a 75 year old lady poses a taserable threat by swinging an arm.
     
  5. AF_INT1N0

    AF_INT1N0 Member

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    Shield529--

    Problem is the normal, nice cops aren't news worthy. It's those that have thier heads up their A$$ that make ratings.

    Same premise behide war coverage.
     
  6. Shield529

    Shield529 Member

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    Some points I have:

    1. "Police say Kimbrell eventually got up but walked toward the cafeteria after spotting someone she knew. At that point, the officer blocked Kimbrell and told her she was under arrest. Kimbrell then swung her arm at the officer, according to the police report."

    So what if she swung her arm, shes 75 against a ?trained? police officer. she cannot hurt anyone.

    2. "That's when Macon used the Taser and placed Kimbrell under arrest"


    What the h@#$, I believe there is a use of force continuem that does not ever begin with Taser. Why did this nut case not try talking first maybe backing away and getting help from other, maybe intelligent, people. Taser should have never been in anyones mind.

    3.She said she got upset because no one would tell her where her friend was -- or even if he was alive.

    "I thought he had died," she said. "I was trying to keep from crying."

    Kimbrell said Macon pressed the Taser to her back and used it during the exchange, causing Kimbrell to hit the floor.

    "It was the worst pain," said Kimbrell. "It felt like something going through my body. I thought I was dying. I said, 'Lord, let it be over.'"


    If this is true, and I have a bad feeling it is, this officer should burn in hell forever. I won't even lie I almost cried seeing this. How any person could do this to an old lady defies all reason and morals I have ever known.

    I could go on but I won't I hope this officer is arrested, tried and convicted of Felony Battery and Elderly Abuse. I hope she gets to spend at least 24-36 months before release and 10 years parole minimum.
    I will be watching this case with intrest.
     
  7. Zrex

    Zrex Member

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    It is amazing the amount of information you can find on someone using the free resources available on the internet.

    You can find out where someone lives, even if unlisted in phone book. You can find out what they drive. You can find out when they bought their house, who holds the mortgage and for how much. You can even get copies of the survey for their houses. As a matter of fact, I just found Officer Hattie Macon's DD214 online. Weird that you can find that stuff. I guess digging into peoples personal lives cuts both ways.
     
  8. Edward429451

    Edward429451 member

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    That's what I like to hear!! Very encouraging and totally respectable statement. There may be hope yet for improved relations.

    You made my day with that sir.:) Thanks.
     
  9. westex

    westex Member

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    If it had been officer Harold Macon instead of officer Hattie Macon would the investigation be progressing any differently? :rolleyes:
     
  10. Sodbuster

    Sodbuster Member

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    Any LEO, male or female, who can't subdue a 75-year old lady without a Taser, needs to find another line of work.
     
  11. Hawkmoon

    Hawkmoon Member

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    Okay, but just how would you propose that the LEO should have subdued the 75-year old nutcase?

    How many of you youngsters have actually been forced to deal with elderly, argumentative, angry, illogical, uncooperative elderly people? They can be a royal PITA. The problem is, they're physically frail but they don't mind getting feisty and throwing their weight around (what little of it some of them have). We weren't ther. The old gal might have been completely off her nut -- after all, she had already been asked to leave by the management and refused, which is why the police were called. Then she tried to ignore the cop and when that failed she attacked her. Have you considered that the officer just might have felt that neutralizing the old bag might have been the best way to avoid breaking some 75-year old bones?

    Did't think so.
     
  12. gunsmith

    gunsmith member

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    I had a fight with an old lady once!

    I would have won but she hit me with her walker!:evil: :neener:
     
  13. Coronach

    Coronach Moderator Emeritus

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    FWIW:

    My opinion tends to lean the way of conventional wisdom on this one (read: I'm really curious to hear the justification), but, lets consider one thing:

    Tasers are really really painful, but they do no permanent damage (except what you might get from falling to the ground). Wrestling with a 75 year old person is almost certain to cause more injury than a simple fall would- sometimes significantly more. Got a largish older person with bad osteoperosis who needs to be taken into custody and insists on fighting you? Tasering can indeed be a better option than wrestling with grandma and breaking her bones.

    Any way you cut it, calls like this are lose-lose situations if you cannot resolve them verbally. If you don't talk them down, you did one of the following:

    1. Wrestled an old lady.
    2. Beat up an old lady.
    3. Maced an old lady.
    4. Tasered an old lady.

    :rolleyes:

    Was it a good call? Who knows. The aformentioned reasoning (which assumes a lot) is the only justification that springs immediately to mind.

    Mike
     
    Last edited: Oct 21, 2004
  14. R.H. Lee

    R.H. Lee Member

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    Ya know, Hawkmoon, if you live to be 75, just hope you don't experience any confusion, or forgetfullness, or grief. I'm sure you don't want to be considered a nutcase. :rolleyes: Any cop who doesn't have the interpersonal societal skills to deal with an uncooperative, possibly confused, elderly person without resorting to physical force desperately needs to find another line of work. I hope she sues the jurisdiction, and wins, bigtime.
     
  15. Sodbuster

    Sodbuster Member

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    Who? The 75-year old or the LEO? Gimme a break. This is over the top!
     
  16. tcsd1236

    tcsd1236 Member

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    And many of you are ignoring the fact that a Taser is just above verbal command sin the use of force. Grabbing her would have been a HIGHER use of force in most agencies.

    Even 70+ year old people can be combative.
     
  17. Coronach

    Coronach Moderator Emeritus

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    I saw a possibly similar run with an 80 year old with dementia that resulted in a cop with a missing tooth and an 80 year old with a broken hip. Would a taser have been in order on that run? You darn betcha...because allowing him to continue assaulting everyone in sight was not an option.

    Was it in order here? I have no idea. I'm curious to see.

    But, I like the smug assurances of everyone that (presumably) any use of force was "over the top."

    Query: if thats the case, why were the police summoned in the first place? Or were they just rolling around looking for an old lady to taser?

    :rolleyes:

    Mike
     
  18. Ezekiel

    Ezekiel Member

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    If the officer's training called for the tazer, blame the hierarchy as the officer/serf is blameless. If he was outside procedure, it's "on him". In any event, I can think of a lot worse things then being momentarily subdued by police for general noncompliance.
     
  19. Shield529

    Shield529 Member

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    To Ezekiel
    The officer is never blameless, right or wrong. I make choises everyday. I would have to make the dicition to use or not to use a Taser on a 75 year old woman. Not a policy book, ME its my choise.
    I only have to have this job for 26 years till I retire, If I get fired for not Tasering an old lady, I can say with 100% certainty that another Dept. will hire me tomorrow.
    But I have to look at myself in the mirror everyday for the rest of my life and in my beliefs I will have to account for my acts after I depart. I cannot under any circumstances justify useing a Taser on a 75 year old woman.

    To all those who have tried to justify this act by saying "what would you do" or "what other option was there"?
    With the elderly I have discovered Talking does alot of good. Its takes a little longer then shocking someone who probley has a pacemaker and uses a little intellect but try it sometime and you and the person who was upset might both feel a little better.
     
  20. rock jock

    rock jock Member

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    As I wrote on GlockTalk, my own mother is 75 and is in the best shape of any 75 yo woman I have even met. My 14 yo nephew could easily subdue her. I hate to say it, and will probably get flamed for it, but I think the fact that the officer in this case is a woman explains a lot.
     
  21. F4GIB

    F4GIB Member

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    zrex posted
    How did you do that?
     
  22. Coronach

    Coronach Moderator Emeritus

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    I agree with this pretty much 100%.

    Well, okay. The pacemaker bit is not relevent. The Taser will not harm a pacemaker (now...the sheer stress of being juiced sure won't help an aged heart...but neither will a wrestling match).

    As always, and ESPECIALLY with someone who is aged and probably not very much of a threat, verbal de-escalation and calming techniques are pretty much always the preferred course of action. But if you end up being forced to go hands-on...which is likely to hurt someone with obvious bone fragility less- a fall to the floor, or a wrestling match and subsequent forcible grounding? Probably the simple fall- which is what a Taser would cause.

    The question comes down to the specifics, as always. Can I think of scenarios where it would be better to taser someone than wrestle with them, even a 75 year old lady? Yes, I certainly can. Can I also envision scenarios where tasering the old lady would be completely inappropriate? Yes, I sure can.

    Which was this? Dunno. It was either a tough decision made well, or a complete FUBAR. I just cannot imagine any cop wanting to Taser an elderly person unless the other options were exhausted first.

    Mike
     
  23. Zrex

    Zrex Member

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    F4GIB: PM Sent
     
  24. RevDisk

    RevDisk Member

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    Either she was unlucky, and someone put it on the internet without her knowledge. Google could find it easy enough. Officer's name plus "DD214" would do it.

    Or she was not intelligent, and filed it at some county courthouse. Some folks used to tell vets getting out of the service to file their DD214 at the courthouse for various benefit reasons. Of course, said files were then massively abused for identity theft reasons. (All you future vets, don't do this.)


    That's just the free services. You can also pay someone minimal amounts to retrieve massive amounts of data on a person. Competition on the internet has driven down the costs so that anyone can find plenty of information on anyone else. Previously just the realm of hardcore stalkers. ;)
     
  25. MP5

    MP5 Member

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    They can be deadly under some circumstances, and there have been a number of cases of cops (inadvertently) killing with them. Just do a Google search for "taser death."
     
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