Police were ordered by a federal judge on Monday to release dashcam footage that shows a former officer using a Taser stun gun on a teenage boy until he sustained brain damage during a routine traffic stop in Missouri in 2014.
Bryce Masters, who was 17 when the incident occurred, was pulled over by former Officer Timothy Runnels, who initially told authorities that he made the stop because the license plate of Masters’ car was linked to an outstanding arrest warrant. Later, he said that he had smelled marijuana in the car, a small amount of which was found in Masters’ pants pocket…
After an extended back-and-forth, during which Masters repeatedly asks, “Am I under arrest?” Runnels deploys his Taser for a full 23 seconds — the equivalent of discharging the weapon four individual times, and enough to cause the teen to go into cardiac arrest.
The footage also shows Runnels dropping Masters’ limp body to the concrete after putting him in handcuffs…
As part of his guilty plea, Runnels admitted that he deprived the minor of his civil rights by deliberately dropping the minor face first onto the ground while the minor was restrained and not posing a threat to Runnels or others. According to the court filings, Runnels also admitted that his actions resulted in bodily injury to the minor.
During a sentencing hearing the government provided evidence that Runnels deployed his Taser into the minor’s chest during a traffic stop and then caused the electric current to run for approximately 20 seconds, four times longer than officers are trained to deploy a Taser…
The drug war has given law enforcement a lot of power. And this is just one video out of hundreds that have made it on to YouTube showing how dangerous it is to question the police. How dangerous it is to believe you have any other option than to follow orders. (And if at all possible, record, because you’ll never know when other cameras are not functioning properly, for whatever reason.)
As an old, white woman, I watched this video and thought, well, that would never happen to me. (After being disgusted and nauseated at how one human being can treat another human being, just because of a suspicion of weed.)
And yet, that’s not really true. Maybe I don’t fit the profile of a stoner — as Bryce Masters apparently did, just because of his youth — but with the opioid war, I know cops are looking for more than just weed. And more senior citizens are using medical cannabis every day. (There’s an internet rumor that the DEA will be rescheduling cannabis to Schedule II in August of this year.)
When I was taking pills, I rarely drove with them in my possession (not that I needed to), just in case I got stopped. Living in Texas, you could get stopped for any reason whatsoever, even if you’re doing nothing wrong. I’m guessing that there are still pain patients who don’t fear the cops, thinking if they follow all the rules, they’ll be fine.
But I want pain patients to understand that the cops don’t look at you as a chronic pain patient — just like most doctors, cops look at pain patients as drug addicts. And if you’re ever unfortunate enough to have a run in with the cops (or ER/hospital doctors), expect to be treated like a drug addict.
Don’t ever think that the drug war is helping our kids, because it’s easy to see that it does more harm than good. The drug war turns our kids (and pain patients) into criminals.