Don’t Taze Me, Sweetie…
12:00 PM EDT on June 28, 2010
Last week I complained that we were having a slow news summer. Well, thanks to the El Reno Police and a a crazy old lady, things are getting more entertaining. From the only-in-a -small-Oklahoma-town file (via NewsOK):
Police officers here are being sued for using a Taser last December to subdue a disabled grandmother (Lona Varner), then 86, in her apartment bed...
Police have admitted using a Taser to incapacitate the suicidal woman Dec. 22. Officer Duran wrote in a police report she pulled a kitchen knife from under her pillow and threatened to kill him. "I tried talking to Varner and calm her down but nothing would work," he reported.
The officer reported she took "a more aggressive posture on the bed" when other officers arrived. He reported she raised the knife above her head and said, "If you come any closer, you're getting the knife." He reported he feared she would injure someone....
The lawsuit alleges as many as 10 police officers pushed their way into the apartment after the grandson called 911. The police first stepped on her oxygen hose "until she began to suffer oxygen deprivation," and then police fired a Taser at her, striking her with only one prong, according to the lawsuit.
"The police then fired a second Taser, striking her to the right and left of the midline of her upper chest and applied high voltage, causing burns to her chest, extreme pain and to pass out," attorneys alleged in the lawsuit. "The police then grabbed Ms. Varner by her forearms and jerked hands together, causing her soft flesh to tear and bleed on her bed; they then handcuffed her."...
In his report, Duran wrote he deployed his Taser first but it did not affect her because one of the two prongs went into a blanket. He wrote, "I told Officer Sandberg who was next to me that my Taser was not working. Officer Sandberg deployed his Taser with both prongs making contact. The Taser rendered Varner incapable of any further aggressive action. Officers were able to remove the knife from Varner's hand and secure it safely."
Duran reported Varner had looked him in the eyes after he arrived at the apartment and said to him, "If you try and get the knife I will stab you and kill you. I killed four Japs in World War II, and I would not bat an eye killing you.
Duran also reported Varner talked of killing police again after being taken to Parkview Hospital in El Reno. "Varner told me she was going to kill every officer that was in her apartment when she got out. Varner told me she was going to snap my neck like a twig just like she did during World War II," he wrote.
Honestly, I'm not sure what to think about this.
I guess if you're a police officer and some suicidal crazy person is threatening you with a knife, you probably have the right to taze them. Then again, generally the person wielding the knife is not an old lady who rides around in a rascal and needs someone to carry the tray for her when she visits a cafeteria.
Anyway, since I have no good answer for what's right or wrong in the situation above, I'm just going to say this: keep me away from El Reno!
Seriously, this town is only good for onion burgers and the occasional hot librarian. And although onion burgers and hot librarians are tasty, they aren't worth being tazed by an over-anxious cop or being stabbed with a butter knife by a senile old lady who believes she was a commando in World War II.
Hell, El Reno is even home to a super-sized Diffee Ford dealership. Know what comes with a Diffee Dealership? Diffee kids. That's who the police need to taze next. I'd actually pay money to watch that.*
*Okay. I'm kidding. The police should not taze the Diffee kids, and if they did, I would not pay to watch it because no one should profit from the pain of children"¦even the annoying ones. But they should give them wedgies. That seems fair.