Springfield police reject excessive force claim

Thursday, December 13, 2001

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. -- Springfield police caught on a home video striking a man suspected of shooting at a detective have been exonerated of claims they used excessive force in making the arrest.

Springfield Police Chief Lynn Rowe said an internal investigation found that the officers were doing what they were trained to do when they struck suspect Tony Mann, 33, near his face.

Officer Phil Yarnall is seen on the video executing a defensive tactic known as the barachial stun. An officer using the technique delivers blows similar to a karate chop to the barachial nerve located between the shoulder and neck, with the meaty part of an arm near the wrist. It stuns the neck nerve and relaxes a suspect's arm so he can be handcuffed, authorities said.

Use of the move was called into question after Mann's arrest in October was caught on video by a free-lance photographer.

"I think people who don't understand the technique, their lack of knowledge of what they were seeing indicated it was a suspect being beat by three officers," said Ken Reynolds, the attorney for the Springfield Police Officers Association and Yarnall. "What they were trying to do is subdue him by using what would cause the least amount of harm."

Rowe told the Springfield News-Leader on Tuesday that state law prohibits him from discussing the internal investigation.

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