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Hullabaloo


Tuesday, September 17, 2013

 
They shot him full of electricity from the back. He couldn't hear them coming.

by digby

There have been too many horrible stories of violence lately, but some still have the power to shock. This is one:
The family of a 12-year-old boy known only as “A.M.” in court documents is suing police, the American School for the Deaf and the city of Hartford, CT over allegations that police unnecessarily Tasered the boy after school officials abused him and denied him food. According to the Courthouse News Service, the student ran away from the school to a construction site to escape staffers who had beaten and choked him, and it was there that police Tasered the boy, who is “profoundly deaf,” with no warning.

Court records say that A.M. was involved in a scuffle with a school staff member in March of this year in which the staffer choked the boy — who has been diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) — and threw him to the ground, resulting in “significant head injuries.”

Then in April, school officials declined to take the boy’s food order when other students were placing theirs. According to the complaint filed by A.M.’s parents, Audley and Judith Muschette, “A.M. tried to place his order with staff members, however he was denied his requests. A.M. then proceeded to call his parents for help through a videophone.”

After five minutes of conversation between the boy and his family, a school staff member named Chris Hammond reportedly “maliciously and without provocation pulled the wires out of the videophone and disconnected the call.”

A.M., frustrated and upset that he was being denied contact with his parents, fled the building. At a construction site on the ASD campus, he came face to face with Hammond and other staffers, who attempted to violently subdue him, according to the complaint.

“Defendant Chris Hammond informed plaintiff that he was going to kill him and push him into an unsafe area of the construction site,” said the suit. “Defendant Chris Hammond proceeded to grab plaintiff and punched plaintiff in the face with closed fists.”

The boy reportedly picked up a stick to defend himself against Hammond and the other adult staffers. They retreated from the scene and left A.M. sitting by himself with his back to the school.

Police arrived at the construction site after dark. Knowing the boy was deaf, they allegedly made no effort to warn or communicate with him, but Tasered him from behind. As A.M. writhed on the ground from the “burns, paralysis and pain” caused by the Taser barbs, the two police officers rushed him and placed him in handcuffs.

He was taken to Connecticut Children’s Hospital and treated for electrical burns.
I've documented many terrible taser stories over the years. But those that horrify me the most are ones that feature deaf people who cannot hear the orders to comply before they are shot through with electricity. This is the worst yet. They hit this kid from the back. He couldn't hear them coming. God.

Update: This is an excellent piece from David M Perry in The Nation about this war on the disabled. Horrifying.

Update II: According to the police report the student was holding a rock. Which, according to certain readers, makes shooting him full of electricity a-ok.
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