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Police use Taser on pregnant woman

Discussion in 'Legal' started by Tall Man, Oct 26, 2004.

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  1. Tall Man

    Tall Man Member

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    http://www.nbc4.tv/news/3768716/detail.html

    Unit 5: Police Accused Of Firing Taser At Pregnant Bride
    Fetus' Vital Signs 'Weak' After Incident, According To Lawyers

    EVERGREEN PARK, Ill. -- A man and his daughter have filed a lawsuit alleging a couple of Evergreen Park police officers assaulted them with a Taser gun at the woman's backyard wedding reception.

    Clarence Phelps, 54, and Romona Madison, 32, filed the federal civil rights lawsuit Tuesday against two officers and the Village of Evergreen Park.

    Images: Cops Accused Of Using Taser On Pregnant Bride
    Video: Police Accused Of Shocking Bride

    According to the lawsuit, a black female officer on Sept. 18 told Phelps outside his home at 9124 S. Francisco Ave. that the police department had received a noise complaint after 11 p.m. and that he should turn down the music at his daughter's wedding reception, NBC5's Renee Ferguson reported.

    Phelps, who is also black, said he turned off the music, but the officer did not leave, according to the lawsuit. When Phelps approached the officer to ask why she was still on his premises, she demanded his identification and called for backup, the lawsuit states.

    But, according to a statement from the Evergreen Park Police Department, the officer called for backup after Phelps called the officer an expletive.

    Another officer arrived and tried to arrest Phelps, who police claim pushed the officer. That's when Phelps was shot with a Taser gun. According to Phelps' attorney, the officer used the stun gun without provocation.

    Phelps, who is a part-time state police officer and truck driver, was then taken into custody, Ferguson reported.

    In court documents, Madison states she saw what happened to her father, screamed, and asked the officer to stop. The officer allegedly turned the Taser gun toward her and threatened the bride with it, according to the lawsuit.

    Madison ran into the home, and one of the officers followed. That officer then allegedly shot Madison with the Taser gun twice in the abdomen, despite being told by witnesses that she was pregnant.

    A prong from the stun gun reportedly became lodged in Madison's stomach and had to be removed by paramedics, Ferguson said.

    A third officer allegedly held a gun to Madison's head as she was being arrested.

    After being released from custody, Madison sought medical care and doctors told her the unborn child's vital signs were weak and that tests would show whether she would lose the baby, according to a news release from the law firm of Richardson, Stasko, Boyd & Mack.

    "It is unclear, the condition of the baby, but we hope for the best," said Elliott Richardson, the woman's attorney.

    The lawsuit accuses the defendants of excessive force, assault and battery, negligence and failure to provide timely medical attention.

    No court date was set for the lawsuit, which seeks unstated damages.

    Police admit using the Taser gun on Madison's abdomen. According to their statement, an officer found Madison hiding in a closet inside the home. When she refused to come out, police said two officers used the stun gun on the woman.

    Phelps was charged with resisting arrest, battery to a police officer and keeping a disorderly house, while Madison was charged with battery to a police officer and resisting arrest, according to police and attorneys.

    Phelps was scheduled for a preliminary hearing at 1:30 p.m. Oct. 19 in Bridgeview Court, according to court records.

    Court information was not immediately available for Madison.

    ===

    Regardless of liability, I hope that this woman does not lose her child as a result of this incident.

    TM

    P.S. - I ran a search, but did not locate a prior posting of this article. If one exists, I apologize.
     
  2. Sindawe

    Sindawe Member

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    *SIGH*

    Shakedown by cops in Baltimore, aggresive use of 'less than lethal' weapons that result in death, chasing residents into their homes and tasering them for what looks to be contempt of cop....


    As a California LEO used to put in his sig on another board....

    "Cops, America's largest street gang."

    :scrutiny:
     
  3. Bacchus

    Bacchus Member

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    Very sad news.
     
  4. walking arsenal

    walking arsenal Member

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    jeez, some of this stuff is giving me second thoughts about becoming a leo, though im sure it's a minority giving the rest a bad name just like everything else.
     
  5. CatsDieNow

    CatsDieNow Member

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    You can have criminal charges filed against you for this? Ut Oh. :uhoh:
     
  6. Zrex

    Zrex Member

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    Nice shootin! That's what ya get for trying to hide in the closet to avoid a beating.

    Two thumbs up to Evergreen Park's finest!














    [/sarcasm]
     
  7. Carlos Cabeza

    Carlos Cabeza Member

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    Here we go again.........................................................:scrutiny:
     
  8. BerettaNut92

    BerettaNut92 Member

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    What the hell does the skin color of the bride or the officer have to do with anything?
     
  9. Sindawe

    Sindawe Member

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    Background data? To preclude cries of racism?
     
  10. Coronach

    Coronach Moderator Emeritus

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    Note:

    ALL of this is what the plaintiffs are alleging happened in the lawsuit. Anyone have links to the original news article?

    For background, I was an unnamed 'John Doe' officer in a lawsuit where the police beat a man brutally in a bar, drug him outside, then donned white lab coats. After the white labcoats were on, the poor defendant was uncuffed and made to box one of the officers while the rest of us stood in a ring around the pair. Then he was tasered. Then he was placed in the back of a paddywagon and thrown around.

    It was truly a horrible day for law enforcement. :fire:

    Except...it happened more like this: Suspect was arrested in the restaurant, resisited arrest, was struck one time, cuffed, and placed in a cruiser. At the time, we didn't even have tasers.

    End of story. :rolleyes:

    See where I'm going with this? I'm not willing to swallow the spin placed upon this by the plaintiffs whole. You can state anything you want in a lawsuit, and the more outrageous it is, the better your chances of settling out of court for $$$$$$$$$. I'm curious how much of this will be knocked down at trial.

    Was the bride tasered? Quite possibly. Was she resisting the arrest of another, then resisting her own arrest? Looks like. Did the officers know she was pregnant? Quite possibly no.

    You are basing all of your outrage on the statements of one side. Lets hear what the other side has to say.

    Mike
     
  11. Coronach

    Coronach Moderator Emeritus

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    A slightly different spin...emphasis mine

    Two sue police in Taser tiff

    Father, pregnant daughter hit with stun gun at party in Evergreen Park

    Thursday, September 30, 2004

    By Chris Hack
    Staff writer


    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Lawyers for a pregnant woman shot in the abdomen with a Taser stun gun by Evergreen Park police during a wedding-reception fracas claimed Wednesday her unborn child might have been injured.

    In a federal lawsuit filed this week, Romona Madison, 32, and her father, Clarence Phelps, claimed they both were unjustly shot with the Tasers Sept. 18 at Phelps' home in the 9100 block of South Francisco Avenue.

    Police Chief Michael Saunders said in a statement Wednesday that the father-daughter duo, who both face multiple criminal charges stemming from the incident, brawled with the officers and stubbornly resisted arrest. Saunders insisted the officers acted appropriately by using the Taser.

    "The officers involved all followed police department policies and procedures," Saunders said. "By policy, officers of the Evergreen Park Police Department are authorized to carry and use less-than-lethal weapons to successfully defend themselves."

    An officer responded to complaints of loud music and people dancing in the driveway of the house just before midnight. About 70 people attended the reception celebrating Madison's marriage the day before.

    According to Saunders' version of events, Phelps — who is black — immediately screamed when the female black officer arrived on the scene, "Why did those crackers send the black (woman) over here?"

    After Phelps, 54, allegedly became increasingly uncooperative and refused to produce identification, several officers who arrived as backup attempted to take him into custody.

    Saunders claimed that after Phelps pushed two female officers he was stunned once with the Taser without effect and then hit again and finally subdued. Madison then allegedly struck several officers — shoving one into a wall — before running into the home.

    She was discovered hiding among clothes in a coat closet, and reportedly after being warned, she was shot in the abdomen with the Taser after she refused to come out. Saunders said the Taser's probe was removed from the woman's stomach by paramedics and that she refused further medical treatment.

    Attorneys Elliot Richardson and Emily Sherrer said their clients remember a very different version of the events.

    "It's our contention that our clients did not batter the police officers," Richardson said during a news conference Wednesday. Citing the pending criminal charges, neither Phelps nor Madison spoke to reporters.

    Richardson said the music at the party was immediately turned off at the officer's request, and Phelps became irate only when the police didn't leave his property at that point.

    "I would say he was probably not happy," Richardson conceded.

    Phelps was hit with the Taser unreasonably while "discussing" the situation with an officer, Richardson said. And Madison was followed into the house by overzealous officers who — even after being told by several guests the woman was two months pregnant — again used the Taser unreasonably.

    Phelps' attorneys said he is a member of the Illinois Auxiliary Police, an Oak Forest-based volunteer organization that mainly provides traffic-control services to municipalities during carnivals and other events. He has a badge, gun and uniform to perform those duties when he's not busy with his full-time job as a truck driver, Sherrer said. Madison, who lives in Chicago, works in a beauty salon.

    Taser International has long insisted its products can be safely used on pregnant women, although some police departments around the nation have enacted policies advising their officers to avoid doing so.

    Richardson said Madison saw a doctor on her own after being released from custody and was told her baby's vital signs at that point were weak. He said it may take "quite some time" before further tests determine if any permanent damage was done to the fetus.

    "Medical personnel are concerned," Richardson said. "And I can tell you the family has cause for concern for the baby."

    Chris Hack may be reached at chack@dailysouthtown.com or (708) 633-5984.
     
  12. Zrex

    Zrex Member

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    To sum up everything I have learned so far here at THR:


    1. The victim/criminal is wrong
    2. The cops are right
    3. If it looks like abuse, you have not spun it enough
    4. If it looks like criminal behavior, its for your safety
    5. Tasers are less lethal weapons, and thus are safe
    6. Less lethal weapons can actually cause death so you shouldnt be mislead by the name "less lethal"
    7. If you are in the wrong place at the wrong time, you are a target and get what you deserve
    8. If you have never been a cop, "you wouldn't understand"
     
  13. BryanP

    BryanP Member

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    As storage gets denser and cameras get ever smaller and cheaper I suspect that tiny tamper-resistant video cameras are going to become a standard part of an officer's uniform.
     
  14. sendec

    sendec member

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    And the hits just keep on comin'..........

    :rolleyes:
     
  15. Coronach

    Coronach Moderator Emeritus

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    Alternatively:

    1. If the cops do something that looks odd, they're JBTs.
    2. If the defendant claims something, it must be true.
    3. Don't wait for the facts, just form your opinion from a newsblurb.
    4. The cops are wrong.
    5. The defendants are oppressed.

    I could go on.

    The point is that newpaper articles immediately after an event mostly carry incomplete and inaccurate information, and if they have any in-depth interviews, it is nearly always from the defendant's/plaintiff's side, as the police do not try cases in the court of public opinion (nor should they!)...but lawyers know the power of the media in creating a groundswell of discontent in the populace. THR, which normally denounces the leftists as being overly swayed by emotion, sure is willing to forgo facts in lieu of spleen when one of the participants in a fracas is wearing a uniform.

    Since most of your post is directed at me, I challenge you to find a thread in which I claim that the police were absolutely right and everything they did was proper, based upon preliminary news reports (NOT from reports detailing the results of administrative investigations and/or trials). Running with the optimitic assumption that you can find even one, I'll outpace you by easily with cites from threads where the knee-jerkers claim that the cops were absolutely wrong.

    Go on. This should be fun.

    Mike
     
  16. Coronach

    Coronach Moderator Emeritus

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    I already carry a voice recorder for exactly this reason. It has already saved me quite a bit of grief in administrative investigations.

    Mike
     
  17. jefnvk

    jefnvk Member

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    Zrex:

    Maybe some of us just don't believe the people filing the lawsuit for damages, before we hear the other side of the story. Is it possible that she was agressive? Possibly. Is it possible that the cops tazered her for the wrong reason? Probably. I wasn't there, I don't know. Both sides are going to spin the story to their advantage.
     
  18. Zrex

    Zrex Member

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    This was in no way directed at you specificly. This was directed at the LEO apologists in general. I have no idea who made which statements when. But, look at the latest LEO threads and you will see that in every case, the police have been declared to have acted correctly.

    Adding to my list of things I have learned:

    9. If a criminal is arrested and a cop is a hero, he should be applauded immediately
    10. If a cop does something bad, we should wait until we hear the whole story before making judgement
    11. When someone invades a former employer and shoots people its ok to talk them into leaving
    12. When a 75 year old woman is visiting a friend in a nursing home, the taser is an apropriate way to get them to leave

    There are three things that can be going on:

    The police are always correct
    The victims/criminals are always correct
    The police are sometimes correct and the victims are sometimes correct

    I tend to believe the third option, and you probably do as well.

    Some people are tired of all the stupid oppressive laws in this country. Guess who enforces those laws.
     
  19. BryanP

    BryanP Member

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    I wonder how prevalent that is? With 1GB flashdrives being under $100 space (physical or data) really isn't an issue anymore. Sticking one of those in a decent voice recorder or even a crappy webcam-quality video camera if it could be made small enough could go a long way towards stopping things like this.
     
  20. Zrex

    Zrex Member

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    *double tap for some reason*
     
  21. Zrex

    Zrex Member

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    BTW: did anyone notice this part:

    "Phelps, who is a part-time state police officer"

    Does that mean the defendant was a cop too? Oh my, this complicates things.

    I guess, one way or the other, the cop is telling the truth in this case! You win.
     
  22. Hawkmoon

    Hawkmoon Member

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    Lawsuits often read like poor fiction. News articles are bad enough, but lawsuits are even worse. The scary part is that (a) attorneys have all graduated from acredited institutions of higher learning, (b) attorneys are ALL licensed by their respective states to practice law, and (c) attorneys are ALL officers of the court and (supposedly) are ALL legally required to always tell the truth (at least, in writing on court documents).

    Not police or firearms related, but an example of how idiotic this can get. Many years ago I was employed by an engineering firm that specialized in designing repairs to existing buildings ... including roof replacements. At one point, we were retained by the owners of a large suburban shopping mall to draw up plans and specifications to replace a section of roofing that had been damaged in a fire.

    Some time later, we were named in a lawsuit. Filed by a volunteer fireman who showed up at the fire drunk (remember, my company hadn't been hired yet), fell off a ladder, and injured his back. His attorney found our name on the plans for the post-fire repairs and graciously included us in the lawsuit.

    Outrageous? It gets worse. The attorney assigned to defend us by our professional liability company decided it would be cheaper to settle than to defend us on the basis that we weren't doing any work on the premises at the time of the alleged injury! My boss actually had to sue his own insurance company to force them to contest a meritless claim rather than just pay it, and then raise our premiums for the next five years to compensate.
     
  23. Wildalaska

    Wildalaska member

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    Yeah but to a certain, shall we say...group, both are automatically true if they allege police misconduct

    WildsameoldstuffAlaska
     
  24. Jeff White

    Jeff White Moderator Staff Member

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    Zrex said;
    Well the first article says that:
    This can't be true. The Illinois State Police have no part time officers. At one time 30 or more year years ago they had an unpaid auxillary.

    The second article states that:
    Illinois law provides for Auxillary Police Officers, however they only have peace officer status when they are in uniform and working under the direction of the chief of police. Some departments provide their auxilleries with the same training the regular officers get and utilize them in the same way they would any other officer and some only provide the 40 hour mandatory firearms training and use them to direct traffic and such. It sounds like that was what Phelps was involved with. Unless he was in uniform and on duty at the wedding, he wasn't a police officer at that time.

    I was once named in a lawsuit because the plaintiff just spouted off the names of all the police officers he knew. A quick check of the records proved I wasn't working when the incident happened.

    There are only two types of cops working these days...those who have been sued and those who will be sued...

    Zrex, if you are tired of the stupid and oppressive laws in this country (many police officers are too) I suggest you become active in local politics and elect people who will change them.

    Contrary to what you might believe we don't enjoy using force. I'm sure that the officers would have rather had Phelps turn the music down so they could leave.

    Jeff
     
  25. Standing Wolf

    Standing Wolf Member in memoriam

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    Oh, no! Please don't call me an expletive!
     
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