A Texas man who called 911 to request medical assistance for a diabetic seizure earned a tasering from local cops for his trouble, the Waxahachie Daily Light reports.
Allen Nelms, 52, was suffering said seizure "during the early morning hours of April 28 when his girlfriend, Josie Edwards, called 911 to request paramedics".
A police officer duly turned up at the house on Waxahachie's east side, "inquired as to what was going on", then called for back-up. Shortly after, and as Nelms was "in his bed in the couple's bedroom", cops "burst in with their guns drawn and yelling at him to get on the floor".
Edwards recalled "about six or seven police officers kicked the front door in and stormed the back bedroom where she said she could hear one telling Nelms to get on the floor". Her statement, which forms part of an written complaint made by Nelms to the Waxahachie police department, says: "Allen was shouting, 'Please don't do me like this. I just need help.' Next thing I heard some 'zing' noise and Allen was shouting. I asked what were they doing to him. One policeman replied, 'We just took care of him.' ... After they did their shooting and laughing, they came out [of] the rooms. The paramedics had to pull out the Tasers."
Nelms claims he was "struck by Taser barbs on his left side, his back and his shoulder" as he went to roll over, and subsequently handcuffed, with "paramedics intervening when the officers began trying to yank the Taser barbs from his skin". The paramedics removed the barbs, checked Nelms' blood sugar level, and the cuffs came off. He was neither arrested nor charged.
In an interview with the Daily Light, Nelms added: "One of the officers said I 'lunged' at him. I asked him, 'How can I lunge at you from my back and on my bed?'" He said he had "never had a problem in calling for paramedics before, and there is no history of his becoming violent when he is having a diabetic seizure".
Edwards' statement says: "Of the 16 years that we [have] lived here and called for paramedics, police decide to come and take over and try to almost kill the man. They never asked any questions [like] did he have a heart pacer, they just wanted to have fun by shooting Tasers and handcuffing the man after he was shot."
Nelms' written complaint states: "I respect the law and police but on this day I was a shooting target for them when I needed help."
Nelms has contacted Waxahachie attorney Rodney Ramsey, who told the Daily Light he has "filed notice with the city on Nelms' behalf to preserve all documentation and evidence relating to the incident". Ramsey said: "This police department has a bad history of disparate treatment on the east side. They're not treated fairly. They're not treated justly. I bet the police wouldn't kick in a white man's door on Spring Creek at 4:30am and Taser him three or four times."
Ramsey declared: "I don't care if I make a dime on this case. I don't care if this costs me money. I want to know what policy says you can kick somebody's door down and Taser them for asking for medical help. This is not going to happen in this town anymore."
Ramsey added that he "wants the names of the officers involved in the incident and that he will renew his efforts to see a citizens review board of police established in the city of Waxahachie, saying that while the majority of the department's officers are good officers, there are some whose actions are questionable".
The Waxahachie police department conducted an internal investigation into the matter, and informed Nelms: "A review regarding your written complaint dated May 3, 2007, was conducted. After careful consideration of your allegations we have found that the officers were within our departmental policies regarding the use of a less than lethal force option (TASER) on you during an event at your residence on April 28, 2007."
Litigation is now likely, and due to a provision of the Open Records Act, which "allows governmental agencies to withhold otherwise releasable materials under an exception of pending litigation", documentation relating to the incident is not currently available for public scrutiny. Ramsey warned: "They better have everything they have on this. There had better not be one piece of evidence that is shredded in this case."
Police Chief Chuck Edge said: "We acknowledge an incident occurred and allegations of excessive force made. We have looked into the incident and [due to the "pending litigation Open Record exception"] cannot talk about it any further." ®