Top 7 'Shocking' Taser Incidents

A grandmother, pregnant woman, university student all felled by Tasers.

July 23, 2009, 12:36 PM

July 24, 2009— -- Police officers often take a lot of flak for their actions after being thrust into volatile situations.

Department policy often outlines when use of force -- from a gun to a baton -- is warranted, but the increased use of Tasers has created a grey area where internal investigators often struggle to balance an officer's right to protect himself and others with the use of high-voltage electricity shot into another person's body.

Some of the more high-profile uses of Tasers have turned into punch lines or jokes, like the 2007 "Don't tase me bro!" incident at the University of Florida.

But others, such as this year's death of a mentally ill man in New York City, can have life-changing consequences for the victims and the officers involved.

Here is a list of some of the most memorable Taser incidents:

Two Boise, Idaho, police officers were reprimanded after an investigation concluded excessive force was used on an unidentified man who was shocked in the back and the backside.

But it wasn't the actual shocks that got the officers in trouble. It was their threats to tase the man in the anus and genitals that raised eyebrows. The man, who claimed the officers thrust the Taser into his nether regions, told the Idaho Statesman that he plans to sue.

Police were called to the scene after a neighbor reported a possible domestic violence dispute.

A routine traffic stop got off to a bad start for 72-year-old great-grandmother Kathryn Winkfein.

After being pulled over in Travis County, Texas, in May for driving 60 mph in a 45 mph zone, Winkfein, captured on the officer's dashboard camera, refused to sign her ticket. She then got out of the truck, telling Officer Chris Bieze to "give me the f---ing ticket now."

Bieze can then be seen shoving the woman, something he said was to keep her away from oncoming traffic.

"You're going to shove me? You're going to shove a 72-year-old woman?" Winkfein demanded.

Bieze can be heard on the tape warning the woman about a half dozen times that he would tase her if she didn't stand back, to which she replied, "Go ahead, tase me."

So he did.

Winkfein was charged with resisting arrest and taken to jail. Bieze's boss later told reporters that his officer did everything by the book.

Man's Naked Plunge Leads to Cop's Suicide

Police in New York City didn't get off so easily last September when a naked man plunged to his death in Brooklyn after being tased.

Inman Morales, 35, died at a hospital after falling 10 stories. Police had been summoned to the building because Morales had threatened suicide.

When they arrived, Morales crawled out a window and onto a ledge, thrusting an 8-foot-long fluorescent light at officers as he went.

A video of the incident shows an officer raising his stun gun at the man who toppled head first off the ledge, prompting gasps and screams from the crowd below.

The officer who fired the electric shock was placed on desk duty while the NYPD investigated and the lieutenant who ordered the use of the stun gun was relieved of his gun and badge.

That lieutenant, Michael Pigott, shot himself in the head a few days later on Oct. 2.

An NYPD official said after Morales' death that department guidelines specifically prohibit the use of Tasers when the suspect is in danger of falling from an elevated surface.

No criminal charges were filed in the case.

A rookie Florida cop got a little too Taser-happy at a birthday party he hosted where adults and minors mingled over alcohol.

Eustis Police Department officials said former officer Dan NeSmith, 22, tased 15-year-old Taylor Davis in the back in September after the teen wanted to know what it felt like.

The stunt was caught on camera with the crowd cheering NeSmith on as he placed the Taser along Davis' spine and counted down. Even as visible electrical currents shoot into the boy, NeSmith holds the Taser on his back until Davis falls forward onto the floor.

NeSmith was found to have violated department policy and on Oct. 8, he was fired from the post he'd held for just 13 months.

Officer Shocked to Find Tasered Lady Pregnant

An Ohio police officer came under fire back in 2007 after a confrontation with a pregnant woman led to the officer tasing the woman in the back of the neck.

Valreca Redden, then 33, had come to the Trotwood Police Department to ask police to take custody of her 1-year-old son, telling officers that she was "tired of playing games" with the baby's father.

When Officer Michael Wilmer told her she needed to provide more of an explanation, Redden attempted to leave. Wilmer then held the child with one hand and pushed Redden down with the other.

As officers attempted to put handcuffs on the woman, she resisted. That's when, Trotwood public safety director Michael Etter told ABC News at the time, Wilmer fired a stun gun into the woman's neck.

It wasn't until Redden, who was wearing a heavy coat, was examined by jail staff that officials realized she was pregnant.

The Ohio chapter of the Rev. Al Sharpton's National Action Network later called for an investigation by both police brass and the FBI.

According to a follow-up article by the Dayton Daily News, Wilmer was found at fault for the incident. He was dismissed from the force in December 2007 after violating department policy unrelated to the Redden incident.

The paper also reported that Redden was found not guilty on the charges of resisting arrest and obstructing official business.

Father, Newborn Hit the Ground After Taser Strike

New father William Lewis claimed his newborn daughter suffered head injuries in April 2007 after a hospital security guard tased him while Lewis was still holding his little girl.

According to The Associated Press, Lewis and his wife had tried to leave the hospital after becoming upset with the staff, but a wristband on the baby prevented the elevators they were using to leave from operating.

In a video of the incident, Lewis can be seen holding his daughter at the Women's Hospital of Texas in Houston, pacing while his wife and two security guards stand nearby.

A few moments later, one of the guards -- later identified as off-duty Houston Police Officer David Boling -- tases Lewis off-camera, causing him and the baby to fall to the ground.

The baby was later placed in state custody because of prior domestic problems between Lewis and his wife, according to the AP, and state officials said she showed no signs of trauma from the incident.

The hospital defended the guard's actions, saying in a statement that they followed proper procedure.

It's arguably the most famous use of a Taser. University of Florida student Andrew Meyer yelled out "Don't tase me bro!" as he was tackled by university police during a September 2007 speaking engagement by U.S. Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass.

Meyer had rankled the crowd by refusing to stop firing questions at the senator, including whether or not he'd been a member of the Yale secret society Skull and Bones.

Meyer's tasering prompted a student protest at the University of Florida and the then 21-year-old became a viral hero after video of the incident hit the Internet. "Don't tase me bro!" became a popular rallying cry and an instant pop culture staple.

The officers, according to the AP, were eventually cleared of any wrongdoing.

The "Don't tase me bro!" video has nearly 4 million views on YouTube.

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