Police use Taser on unarmed, nude child with autism wandering on highway
This is madness. I haven’t posted a Taser piece in a while, but this abuse of the “non-lethal” shock device is outrageous. Since when is an unarmed, naked child on the side of the road a threat to a law enforcement officer? This occurred in Ashland, Oregon, where motorist Adam Bednar saw her wandering at 4 AM.
Bednar says he drove alongside her while he called police. He says the trooper who arrived called for her to stop, and when she didn’t respond threatened twice to taze her. After giving no response, two little red dots appeared on her back, then metal barbs.
“She seized up and she fell face first on the ground,” said Bednar.
State police officials say it was necessary to prevent her from wandering further into the road and putting herself in danger. Bednar, who helped troopers apprehend the girl on the hood of his car, says he isn’t so sure.
“She wasn’t going off the road, she was set on walking down the freeway,” said Bednar. “And I think that, had [the trooper] waited for back up, they could have gotten her without the Taser.”
Didn’t wait for backup, didn’t use what should have been standard police training to physically subdue the child (how about tackling, wrestling her to the ground, blocking her path with the vehicle, anything — are these not procedure anymore?). The girl, who was unaware of her surroundings — she has severe autism — was returned to her family and not charged with any crime.
The father, Aram Hampson, responded to the events.
Hampson says — his daughter has a severe case of autism. He says she cannot carry on a conversation and she tends to run away from home often. “You can just tell you’re not dealing with a regular person who’s either on drugs or anything else,” explained Hampson. “Physically (she) does not look like an average 11-year-old. She’s kind of, you know, husky,” he added. Hampson believes this is why his pre-teen daughter was mistaken for a woman by authorities.
“Maybe its a little overused. It was not necessary. There wasn’t any threat to the officers. And from the witness report, it wasn’t like she was in any immediate threat,” he said. The cab driver who originally called 911 told NewsWatch 12 that the girl was along the edge of the road and not in traffic. Oregon State Police Lt. Kelly Collins say tasing her most likely saved her life. Lt. Collins was not the trooper who responded to the call but spoke on behalf of OSP. He says the trooper saw the girl in danger and running onto the interstate.