Step Away From the Shoes, Ma’am: Police Officer Tasers Woman for Trying to Put on Her Shoes

In our expanding list of “things you can do to get tasered by police,” we have another outstanding entry to add to getting out of a bath naked and calling for help. Catherine Isebelle Morris, 34, was tasered by Gaston County Police Officer G.S. Kendall because she insisted on getting her shoes in the house when questioned outside about a domestic disturbance. She is lucky. Under this operational standard, Imelda Marcos would have been lit up like the Chrysler building.

Kendall was speaking with family after the call when the garage door opened and Moore came out. Here is how his affidavit describes events:

“I asked her to step to the side and talk with me. We began to talk and the defendant asked to get her shoes. She became very aggressive about wanting her shoes and then turned and walked back towards the house. I told her several times to stop and hold off on the shoes, as I tried to figure out what was going on. She refused and went for the door. I told her to stop and I went to grab her. She turned around and charged at me. I then tased her three times in order for Officer Thomson to handcuff her.”

She now faces a charge of assault on an officer. A shoeless, unarmed woman “charged at him”? I can understand using force to hold her, but a taser? At least she was wearing clothes, albeit sans shoes, here.

I cannot find any further information on the case, but here is one site.

16 thoughts on “Step Away From the Shoes, Ma’am: Police Officer Tasers Woman for Trying to Put on Her Shoes”

  1. Anyone who thinks that cop did the right thing needs to apply for citizenship in North Korea, or Iran.

    Only a cowardly man would “taser” a woman.

    What happened to policemen who were “men”, and not chickens?

  2. Hello LindyLou,

    I have heard her but not in the pieces you describe. I’ll look those up. These are genuinely scary times!

  3. Jill and Rafflaw,

    Are you familiar with Naomi Wolf? Some of her talks have been recorded on YouTuube. Her “End of America” lecture is scarier than Halloween III. There’s also another interview on YouTube that’s more up to date and beyond scary. When I listen to her I keep hoping she’s crazy, but I don’t think she is.

  4. Jill,
    Thanks again for the heads up on this. I read the Greenwald article. Wow! It was unbelievable. I had heard some inklings about this issue awhile back, but nothing in such detail. This should make all of us wonder what don’t we know about this abridgement of the Posse Commitatus Act.

  5. Jill,
    that is a scary article. Do you have a link to it? I have been thinking of this possibility ever since the Wall Street crisis surfaced. I don’t expect it, but I can see Bush/Cheney trying to use the force of the military to “contol” citizens who are trying to vote for Obama and being illegally denied access to the polls due to the various Republican schemes such as vote caging and purging of voters lists and others. To be clear, I do not see this happening, but nothing Bush/Cheney/McCain do surprises me anymore.

  6. rafflaw,

    Here’s a whole ‘nother set of tools for the toolbox. This time the ARMY will use them on our population: (Glenn Greenwald, Sept. 24)

    “Several bloggers today have pointed to this obviously disturbing article from Army Times, which announces that “beginning Oct. 1 for 12 months, the [1st Brigade Combat Team of the 3rd Infantry Division] will be under the day-to-day control of U.S. Army North” — “the first time an active unit has been given a dedicated assignment to NorthCom, a joint command established in 2002 to provide command and control for federal homeland defense efforts and coordinate defense support of civil authorities.” The article details:…
    They may be called upon to help with civil unrest and crowd control or to deal with potentially horrific scenarios such as massive poisoning and chaos in response to a chemical, biological, adiological, nuclear or high-yield explosive, or CBRNE, attack. . . .

    *** The 1st BCT’s soldiers also will learn how to use “the first ever nonlethal package that the Army has fielded,” 1st BCT commander Col. Roger Cloutier said, referring to crowd and traffic control equipment and nonlethal weapons designed to subdue unruly or dangerous individuals without killing them.

    “It’s a new modular package of nonlethal capabilities that they’re fielding. They’ve been using pieces of it in Iraq, but this is the first time that these modules were consolidated and this package fielded, and because of this mission we’re undertaking we were the first to get it.”

    The package includes equipment to stand up a hasty road block; spike strips for slowing, stopping or controlling traffic; shields and batons; and, beanbag bullets.

    The brigade will not change its name, but the force will be known for the next year as a CBRNE Consequence Management Response Force,…”

  7. I am amazed at the lack of knowledge displayed here about the danger involved when anyone uses a taser on a human being. If you have been reading about the multiple abusive uses of this weapon in the last few months alone, on this site, you may not be so quick to say the officer did the right thing. Since there was more than one officer on the scene, this woman could have been easily stopped before going inside without the potentially deadly tazer being used 3 times and without the officers losing sight of the participants in the alleged domestic disturbance. The multiple stories of the police abusing the Taser argue to the point that it is just a new “toy” that the police seem too anxious to use.

  8. Many LEOs do not know how to communicate, which is also a major problem for the general populace. I learned a very effective technique called “Verbal Judo” that teaches an officer the verbal skills needed as a low level, first line of ‘force’.

    I am confident that most LE situations resulting in escalated anger, violence, etc., could be avoided with a LEO’s proper employment of verbal and body language skills.

  9. WOW, I’ve heard it all. But we all know how the media trys to play on words. I’m sure this cop knew what he was doin. He probably thought to himself,”Am I going to choke slam her, and leave a bruise and get a law suit.” Or am I going to keep my distance and taser the lady. What would Jesus do? TASER TASER TASER!!!!

  10. I think in this situation he could not assume that she was getting her shoes, why would she be so mad about getting shoes, and better to get zapped then hit with officer hands or holds, taser is less painful in the long and gets the job done. I think if the cops tell you to do something, you do it! OR your setting yourself up for bad news.

  11. From my training, (although I was out of LE before Taser use), present-day LEOs appear to be unjustifiably leapfrogging over their appropriate levels of force. They have many means of subduing a person by using their lawful ‘bag of tricks’. They must go through those use-of-force levels in a stepwise procedure instead of jumping to the most convenient method for the LEO but one that might violate the rights of the detainee.

  12. Watchman,

    I would withhold any statements of “deserved what she got” until we learned from the other witnesses (and possibly a dashboard camera) that she did indeed charge. This was, by the officer’s own admission, a confusing situation. Even assuming the officer is describing events as he perceived them to be happening, eyewitness testimony isn’t 100% reliable, including that of witnesses who happen to be cops. There are some discrepancies, if the officer was going to grab her and she charged him, how did he get the taser up quick enough to use it? If he went to grab her, he probably was within a few arm-lengths. Also I’m sure the officer had been trained in several “holds” that would have been applicable in the situation.

    Also why was it necessary to taser her not just once, but three times before handcuffing her? If Tasers are so ineffective that they require multiple uses to subdue this woman, then the police officers would be less likely to use them in situations where their lives were at jeopardy.

  13. domestic violence calls are on the top of the list when it comes to police officers being killed. it is the officer’s duty to keep every subject in his sight during these calls. this lady could have gone into her house and got her gun instead of her shoes. after reading that she charged at the officer, she deserved what she got.

  14. It has been my observation that everytime you provide police a new tool, they will find a way to misuse it.

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