courthousenews.com | Oct 30, 2012
SANTA FE, N.M. (CN) – A New Mexico policeman Tasered a 10-year-old child on a playground because the boy refused to clean his patrol car, the boy claims in court.
Guardian ad litem Rachel Higgins sued the New Mexico Department of Public Safety and Motor Transportation Police Officer Chris Webb on behalf of the child, in Santa Fe County Court.
Higgins claims Webb used his Taser on the boy, R.D., during a May 4 “career day” visit to Tularosa New Mexico Intermediate School.
“Defendant Webb asked the boy, R.D., in a group of boys, who would like to clean his patrol unit,” the complaint states. “A number of boys said that they would. R.D., joking, said that he did not want to clean the patrol unit.
“Defendant Webb responded by pointing his Taser at R.D. and saying, ‘Let me show you what happens to people who do not listen to the police.'”
Webb then shot “two barbs into R.D.’s chest,” the complaint states.
“Both barbs penetrated the boy’s shirt, causing the device to deliver 50,000 volts into the boy’s body.
“Defendant Webb pulled the barbs out [of] the boy’s chest, causing scarring where the barbs had entered the boy’s skin that look like cigarette burns on the boy’s chest.
“The boy, who weighed less than 100 lbs., blacked out.
“Instead of calling emergency medical personnel, Officer Webb pulled out the barbs and took the boy to the school principal’s office,” the complaint states.
Higgins says the Tasing gave the boy post-traumatic stress syndrome, and that “The boy, R.D., has woken up in the middle of the night holding his chest, afraid he is never going to wake up again.”
She adds: “No reasonable officer confronting a situation where the need for force is at its lowest, on a playground with elementary age children, would have deployed the Taser in so reckless a manner as to cause physical and psychological injury.”
She seeks punitive damages for the boy for battery, failure to render emergency medical care, excessive force, unreasonable seizure, and negligent hiring, training, supervision and retention.
Higgins and R.D. are represented by the Kennedy Law Firm, of Albuquerque.