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TASERED

New York Amsterdam News, News Report, Nayaba Arinde and Cyril Josh Barker Posted: Jun 26, 2009

Were it not for a frantic phone call to the AmNews on Thursday afternoon, the paper may never have known that a semi-naked woman was lying handcuffed in the pouring rain on cold concrete being tasered by a female sergeant from the 32nd Precinctat the very same time NYPD recruits were participating in multicultural training at the Apollo Theater, with Police Commissioner Ray Kelly, Reverend Al Sharpton and Reverend Herbert Daughtry. Officers just 25 blocks away were acting as if they had forgotten what they learned during their own training.

Last Thursday, officers on 150th Street and Frederick Douglass Boulevard were observed tasering an unarmed Black woman, who neighbors say seemed to be mentally unstable. The unidentified woman was seen lying outside in her underwear on the street in the rain.

What happened to this young woman is outrageous and unacceptable, stormed State Senator Bill Perkins. Mayor Michael Bloomberg is allowing technology that was designed to be used to subdue animals to be used on women, men and even the mentally disturbed.

Residents in the neighborhood rushed out of their buildings to see close to 20 officers surrounding the woman as she lay in the rain, according to witnesses. EMS took up to 45 minutes to respond to the scene, they told the paper.

Officers on the scene would not give a clear reason as to why the woman was being detained.

Hiram, a resident, told the AmNews that he saw officers handcuff the woman and put her in a police car by pushing her in by her face. Thats when the tasering began by a Sgt. Torres from the 32nd Precinct.

She started kicking the door and they opened the door, pulled her out, tasered her and she fell to the ground. The whole time she was handcuffed, he said. Then, she fell to the ground and she was moving all around, screaming and hollering and they tasered her again.

Police told Hiram to stop taking pictures with his camera phone when he arrived downstairs from his building. He said he did not know the woman but said that the situation could have been handled better.

They could have controlled her without tasering her, he said. She fell down and they tasered her again. No one tried to restrain her with their hands. The only thing they did was take out the taser gun and shoot her with it. Thats the problem we have in this community with the police. They are quick to hurt us. Barbara Nelson also witnessed the incident and said officers were responding to a rape call. She said the woman had gone into a convenience store and was harassing people. The woman then went down the block and began to take off her clothes.

She said, I could hear them tasering her as I stood in front of my building. The officer came over to us and said if we didnt get out of the street, we would be arrested for loitering. They had been constantly tasering her. I have no idea why they would continue to taser her.

I dont think they would treat a white woman in the same predicament in the same way, charged Councilman Charles Barron. This lady was already cuffed, why did they keep tasering her? They learn in academy how to restrain a person. They dont know her condition. They could have worsened any medical situation she had. They could have given her a heart attack.

Recalling the incident last September year where Iman Morales, 35, an emotionally disturbed man was Tasered with 50,000 volts by cops in Bedford-Stuyvesant, and fell to his death off a ledge, Barron continued, Once again, they think they can treat us like animalscuffed and tasered in front of us. In February this year, Morales mother, Olga Negron, filed a $10 million lawsuit against the city; Officer Nicholas Marchesona, who fired the taser; and the estate of Lt. Michael Pigott, the officer who ordered Marchesona to do so and later committed suicide. Are you telling me that in 2009, with a woman in cuffs, they dont know a better way to restrain her? Like with Iman Morales, they could have caused her death, said Barron.

Even the NYPD regulations indicate that Tasers are not a mere tool for compliance of detainees or arrestees, explained retired Detective Marquez Claxton. You never know when a person has a pre-existing medical condition that may result in death because of Tasering. Like discharging a firearm, the Taser should be used as a tool of last resort and it should also be regulated the same way as a 9 mm. To repeatedly Taser a semi-nude woman on the streets of Harlem shows that the NYPD has not learned anything after the death of Iman Morales in Bed-Stuy.

Lt. Mike Wysokowski told the AmNews, We responded to an emotionally disturbed person at the location. When officers got there, she was partly nude and violent. She was a 32-year-old female. They were able to put her in the patrol car, but she tried to kick out the windows. When they took her out of the car, she was still violent and lunging at the officers. Asked about the constant tasering, Wysokowski said that the woman was only tasered once after she spat at the sergeant in the face. They shot the taser once. He insisted that only one dart was in there, so she was not being tasered as often as people thought. When told that she screamed out in pain several times and that eye witnesses, including the two AmNews reporters, saw the sergeant seem to repeatedly taser the woman, the lieutenant replied, No, she may not have been in painshe was acting up.

When the AmNews arrived on the scene, the woman was on her side with neighborhood residents observing the ordeal. They said that the woman was lying in the street for the best part of an hour. Nelson went up to her apartment and brought her a sheet, which cops eventually used to cover her. After the AmNews had been there for 30 minutes, EMS arrived. But the sergeant tasered the woman again.

Neither Mayor Michael Bloomberg nor 32nd Precinct Deputy Inspector Kevin T. Catalina responded to an AmNews request for comment.

The NYPD did not respond to an AmNews request to make the report available or a statement on the taser equivalent to the firearm discharge report, which apparently follows the use each of the weapon. Wysokowski dismissed the AmNews inquiry as to why officers were laughing as she was being tasered. She was released from Harlem Hospital on Friday and was seen walking in the neighborhood again on Saturday.

Sen. Perkins said, My office is following up to offer her legal assistance because we think her human rights and civil liberties have been violated. Tasers use technology designed for animals and should not our constituents. It is barbaric, and it should be stopped.

Every time there is an incident of police brutality or killing by an officer, someone starts talking about training, snapped Barron. Theyve had training. They get it every year. In fact, last Thursday, as this woman was being tasered while in handcuffs and virtually naked, they were holding their so-called multicultural sensitivity training. It is bogus. The killing and the brutality continues. Police Commissioner Kelly should be fired and Bloomberg should not be rehired. The answer to police brutality is that they must go to jail.

The officers who killed Amadou Diallo were trained to take cover before they shoot at someone. They didnt. Had they gone with their training, Amadou might be alive today. The officers who shot Sean Bell were trained to not shoot at a fleeing vehicle. They violated police department policy and that young father of two is dead.

I firmly believe that when they kill us, they should get 20 years to life in jail. And if they want to learn about Black people, I will buy them a book while they sit behind bars. They must suffer consequences when they violate our human rights. I believe that will send the best message to police officers that our lives have value.

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