Alabama mother says cops tased epileptic teen girl 3 times

Reuters/Christinne Muschi
An Alabama woman has filed a lawsuit against local police alleging a stun gun was used on her epileptic daughter three times while the teen was suffering from seizures at a concert in Rainbow City. Police also tased the girl's mother, she alleges.

The 32-page lawsuit, filed earlier this month in US District Court, accuses at least five Rainbow City officers and three officers from neighboring Gadsden, who were allegedly handling security for a January 16 hip-hop concert, of excessive force, torture "and other cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment," Alabama Media Group reported.

The woman and her 16-year-old daughter, whose identity has not be disclosed, seek damages for pain, emotional distress, medical expenses, punitive damages and attorney's fees, the media group added.

According to Gregory Harp, attorney for the plaintiffs, a "Taser was used three times on a child's chest, during a medical emergency, while she was pinned to the ground by officers. “

Other officers present at the scene failed to intervene. Her mother was knocked to the ground, handcuffed, and then she herself tased and arrested."


According to the lawsuit, the incident occurred at Center Stage during a gig by rapper Kevin Gates. Earlier that day, on January 16, the teenage girl had already suffered a grand mal seizure at her high school where she was treated by paramedics, but not taken to a hospital. The suit states, according to Alabama Media Group, that the girl suffers from a medical condition which involves grand mal seizures, causing her to lose consciousness, experience muscle contractions and "sometimes exhibit loud vocalizations caused by the forceful exhalation of air from her lungs."

Photo from facebook.com/Rainbow-City-Police-Department

Later that night, when she went to the concert, there was a stampede at one particular point. The suit alleges the incident happened when the artist left the stage to go into the crowd during the show. As a result, the teenager was knocked down and began to have another seizure. The girl's younger sister reportedly informed Center Stage employees that she was suffering a seizure.

According to the lawsuit, she was carried into the lobby of the venue, where she was “unceremoniously dumped” on to the floor. By the time she suffered another convulsion, her mother had arrived, dressed in a T-shirt and pajamas. She said she wanted to help her daughter, but was restrained by police. According to court documents, the woman was "held down on the ground at five different points of her body" by police.

The Daily Beast reports that one 6-foot (183cm) tall, 200lb (91kg) Rainbow City officer allegedly pushed the woman to her knees and held her hands behind her back. The lawsuit reportedly says that the officer told another cop, “Get her.” After a moment of hesitation, the officer repeated, “Do it,” and, according to court papers, the other cop used the stun gun on the woman. The Taser shock caused the woman “to urinate a copious amount of urine onto herself and the floor of the facility,” the complaint cited in media reports, says.

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When the daughter “attempted to raise her head,” police officers and a venue employee restrained her, according to the court papers. The lawsuit says that an officer hit her with the stun gun three times at one point. The suit says, the teenager suffered yet another seizure “and was rendered unconscious.” She awoke in an ambulance en route to a local hospital, according to the suit. At the hospital police allegedly made jokes about the girl, threatening to have her “committed to a mental hospital.”

Her mother was meanwhile arrested for disorderly conduct and rushed to the county jail, the suit claims.

"The actions of the ...defendants ...were unjustified, unprovoked, and objectively unreasonable and constitute a violation of their rights under the Fourth Amendment and/or the Fourteenth Amendment to be free from the use of excessive force," the suit states, reports Alabama Media Group.

Rainbow City attorney Jim Turnbach was quoted as saying that the municipality “will vigorously defend the suit,” however.

“I don’t make it a policy to try suits in the newspaper, as tempting as it might be,” he said in an email to the Daily Beast.

“The allegations are simply allegations and the facts in the case will dictate the outcome,”
he added.

The woman and her attorney also accuse Center Stage of failing to provide necessary crowd control at the concert. Last year a man with an assault rifle in a parking lot shut down a concert before Kevin Gates took the stage, sparking what police called a "near riot." Luckily, no shots were fired and no one was injured.