Tasered 10-Year-Old Boy Sues Police
(TULAROSA, N.M.) -- A 10-year-old boy attending a Tularosa, N.M., Intermediate School’s Career Day expected it to be fun and educational, but instead he ended up in the emergency room.
The boy, identified as R.D., blacked out after receiving 50,000 volts of electricity when struck by a police officer’s Taser gun.
Rachel Higgins, a guardian appointed by the court to protect the child’s privacy filed a lawsuit Oct. 26 in 1st Judicial District Court in Santa Fe County against Police Officer Chris Webb and the New Mexico Department of Public Safety on behalf of R.D., claiming that Webb fired his electronic control weapon at the boy on May 4, 2012.
Webb has been charged with battery, failure to render emergency medical care, unreasonable seizure and excessive force.
Higgins will appear in court to represent the boy because the family members live in a small town and do not want to reveal their identities.
The lawsuit claims police officers drove their patrol cars onto the intermediate school campus, where Webb asked a group of boys which one would like to clean his patrol unit.
R.D. raised his hand to say he did not want to clean the police officer’s car.
Webb then said, according to the lawsuit, “Let me show what happens to people who do not listen to the police.” He then “shot his Taser gun at the boy’s chest,” said the family’s attorney Shannon Kennedy of the Kennedy Law Firm of Albuquerque.
Kennedy said instead of calling paramedics over, who were also on campus for the Career Day event, Webb pulled the barbs from the Taser out of the boy’s chest.
“He grabbed the wires, he yanked them and it came out of the prongs, and then he went up to me and he ripped the prongs out of my chest,” R.D. told ABC News in September.
The boy said the officer then took him to the restroom to wash off and then to the nurses office.
“R.D.’s mother arrived at the school in absolute shock and rushed him to the emergency room,” said Kennedy.
The lawsuit claims that as a result of the battery, the boy now has symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder.
“He wakes up in the middle of the night holding his chest afraid his heart will stop,” said Kennedy. “He says, 'Mommy I’m afraid I’ll never wake up again.'”
According to the police report, Webb said a group of students had asked him to show them his Taser gun, and when he pulled it out, it accidentally went off and hit R.D. in the chest.
Webb stated in the report that he immediately shut off the power switch, removed the cartridge and threw the Taser gun to the ground.
Calls to the New Mexico Motor Transportation Police Department by ABC News were not returned.
Kennedy said she received a response to a public records request that showed an officer had tested the Taser gun to check for any malfunctions.
“Officer Michael Walker generated a Taser X26 report showing that the Taser had no problems with its battery, that it fired correctly, and that it did not deploy when shaken from side to side,” said Kennedy.
Kennedy said there was no monetary cap for damages in the lawsuit, but because it’s a federal case it could end in a multi-million dollar verdict.
ABC News did reach out to Tularosa New Mexico Intermediate School, but the school said it couldn’t comment because of the pending litigation.
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio