Six Southwest Missouri officers on leave for stun gun use

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

CASSVILLE, Mo. (AP) -- Six officers are under investigation for allegedly using a stun gun to subdue a woman who was banging her head on a jail floor in Barry County in southwest Missouri, the sheriff said.

Three sheriff's deputies and three Cassville police officers have been placed on administrative leave during the investigation.

Barry County Sheriff Mick Epperly said he sent a letter to the Missouri State Highway Patrol on Monday requesting an outside investigation into the July 24 incident, which involved a 40-year-old woman from Butterfield, whose name was not released.

The woman was taken to a Cassville hospital on the evening of July 23 after saying she was suicidal but left shortly after arriving, Epperly said. County deputies and Cassville police then decided to pick her up again because they were concerned about her, he said.

They found her in Cassville, where she became combative and had to be restrained with handcuffs and leg shackles, he said.

After being taken to the county jail, she began hitting her head on a concrete floor around 12:30 a.m., Epperly said.

Officers tried to stop her. Epperly said a deputy then used a Taser stun gun on her in front of two other deputies and three police officers.

Epperly said he and Cassville police question the use of the Taser and the other officers' failure to prevent its use.

The woman eventually was taken to the Hawthorn Center in Joplin for mental evaluation and possible treatment. The sheriff said she apparently wasn't injured by the Taser.

Information from: The Joplin Globe,

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