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29 Nov, 2013 21:39

Texas boy tasered by officer after breaking up school fight, remains in a coma

Texas boy tasered by officer after breaking up school fight, remains in a coma

A high school student suffered a brain injury and remains in a medically-induced coma after a Texas sheriff’s deputy tasered him without cause following a skirmish in a school hallway, the boy’s mother claims in court.

Maria Acosta has sued Bastrop County, its school district and Randy McMillan, a Bastrop County sheriff’s officer and school resource officer, according to Courthouse News.

Noe Nino de Rivera, Acosta’s son, suffered a “severe brain hemorrhage” when McMillan Tasered him after the boy, known as N.N., had intervened to halt a fight between two females at Cedar Creek High School on Wednesday, November 20, Acosta claims in a federal lawsuit.

"I'm called to the school and they say you have to get to the hospital," Acosta told KXAN last week. "(They said) your son is alive. I say, 'what do you mean he's alive?'"

Her son “stepped in to break up the fight” before police could arrive, Acosta says in the suit.

McMillan and another security officer arrived to break up the fight upon being called by school officials. Acosta says her son “diffused the situation” by the time they arrived on the scene.

McMillan told N.N. to step away, and he did so with his hands raised, but McMillan tasered him nevertheless, Acosta alleges.

Immobilized by the Taser, N.N. fell and struck his head on the floor, at which point McMillan handcuffed the unconscious boy, 17.

Acosta says school officials initially “delayed in calling for medical assistance even though N.N. was in an obvious emergency medical situation. 

"Eventually, school officials called for EMS and N.N. was airlifted to St. David's Medical Center, where he immediately underwent surgery to repair a severe brain hemorrhage and was placed in a medically induced coma."

The lawsuit claims that "N.N. remains in a coma, and has not been able to communicate with his family since his hospitalization."

The Bastrop County Sheriff’s Office says N.N. made aggressive moves, leading to the tasering.

Acosta is alleging overreaction and abuse. One student echoed that sentiment to KXAN.

"There was a crowd watching and the kid was just trying to get the officers to listen to him," said the student. "When he shot the Taser, there was a crowd, and others could have been hit."

Acosta says the deputy officer was never in harm, and that the defendants allowed him to work at Cedar Creek High School even after he Tasered another student a year ago. That history created a “foreseeable danger” that led to N.N.’s injuries, she says.

According to the Sheriff's Office, McMillan has never received complaints for using excessive force, and he's never been disciplined for using excessive force.

Acosta is seeking medical expenses and damages for use of excessive force, failure to train and discipline and civil rights and education code violations.

KXAN reports an investigation is underway, and that McMillan has been placed on patrol as it progresses.

Acosta said N.N. had expressed interested in joining the Marines. He may still face charges once the investigation is final.