Original URL: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2009/11/19/ozark_tasering/

Arkansas cop tasers 10-year-old girl

Mother backs electric justice for unruly child

By Lester Haines

Posted in Bootnotes, 19th November 2009 10:26 GMT

An Arkansas cop has been suspended after tasering a ten-year-old girl who repeatedly "screamed, kicked and resisted" when her mother attempted to get her to have a shower before bed.

Officer Dustin Bradshaw was called to a "domestic disturbance" in Ozark on 11 November, where he found the girl "curled up on the floor, screaming", according to his report.

Bradshaw wrote that the girl was "violently kicking and verbally combative", and noted: "Her mother told me to tase her if I needed to."

When Bradshaw attempted to arrest the child, she kicked him in the groin, so he gave her "a very brief drive stun to her back" of "less than a second", as police chief Jim Noggle put it. Bradshaw was then able to handcuff the subdued perp and she was taken into custody.

Noggle clarified: "We didn't use the Taser to punish the child - just to bring the child under control so she wouldn't hurt herself or somebody else."

The girl's mother, Kelly King, backed Bradshaw's action, telling local 4029tv.com: "I want to make this clear, I'm not calling them [the police] over here to handle my problem. I'm having them come over here to protect my daughter from hurting herself or hurting someone else."

The unnamed victim's father, Anthony Medlock, who's separated from King, admitted his daughter had "emotional problems", but insisted she "does not deserve to be tased and be treated like an animal".

Ozark mayor Vernon McDaniel earlier this week demanded an official investigation into the matter. He told AP: "People here feel like that he made a mistake in using a Taser, and maybe he did, but we will not know until we get an impartial investigation."

Arkansas state police declined to probe the tasering, saying it "only gets involved with criminal investigations", rather than "matters of policy".

While chief Noggle initially said Bradshaw would not face disciplinary action, the officer was subsequently suspended for seven days on full pay for failing to turn on a camera attached to the Taser, in line with department policy.

McDaniel continues to push for an Arkansas state police criminal investigation into Bradshaw's use of the Taser. Medlock is also demanding satisfaction. He said: "I don't know if justice will come out of it or not, but I'm going to do my damndest to get justice out of it. Somebody needs to pay. Seven days suspended with pay that isn’t anything. That's not even a slap on the wrist."

Whether Bradshaw will be held to account remains to be seen, but Medlock's daughter - who's reportedly unharmed and in the care of the Western Arkansas Youth Shelter in Cecil - faces a charge of "disorderly conduct", AP notes. ®