Spare the Taser, Spoil the Child: Police Chief Tasers 14-Year-old Girl in Head After She Ran From Her Mother — And Demands Charges Against the Girl

taser gun bart officer-218-85Tucumcari Police Chief Roger Hatcher in New Mexico shoot a 14-year-old girl in the head with a Taser dart after she ran from her mother and police. Hatcher insists that it was the right thing to do since (I kid you not) he was afraid she might be injured if she ran into traffic. It falls into the rule that it is sometimes necessary to shoot a child to save a child.

The girl suffers from epilepsy and the dart penetrated slightly into her brain, according to her mother. Hatcher actually shoot at her twice –achieving the head shot at the first or second shot.

Hatcher says that it was the right thing to do: “There’s a lot of issues. She committed a delinquent act. She was running from police across traffic without looking.”

The girl was placed in pediatric intensive care following the surgery.
The mother had taken the girl to the police department because she was having trouble with her and her daughter proceeded to just walk away.

Hatcher insists that “[t]here was a lawful reason to do that. I didn’t have another choice and had to get her stopped.” Really? How about letting her go and pick her up later. You would then have a delinquent kid on the street rather than a kid in intensive care.

Hatcher delivered 50,000 volts to the girl’s head. He is now asking for charges to be brought against the girl.

If there is a sheriff in dire need of a lawsuit, this would be the one.

Hatcher has volunteered to take a leave from his office in Tucumcari, New Mexico, here.

For the full story, click here.

25 thoughts on “Spare the Taser, Spoil the Child: Police Chief Tasers 14-Year-old Girl in Head After She Ran From Her Mother — And Demands Charges Against the Girl”

  1. I have been following taser abuse stories on the blog Raw Story for a long time. I should have kept a tally because there are so many instances of the most vulnerable in our society being victims: old people, pregnant women, schizophrenics in wheelchairs!, people who don’t understand English, a boy who fell from a highway ramp, autistic children, and now this epileptic girl. Get rid of the damn things, please!

  2. I think we can all agree that stories such as this have nothing to do with the left wing/right wing political arguments that have made discussion of policy such a problem in this country and in this era.

    To me there are two separate, yet intertwined questions that arise from an incident such as this. The first is the legitimacy of the role of law enforcement in our society. In truth there has always been a tension between American LEO’s and the Bill of Rights, with the constitution waging a losing battle. The role of LEO’s in our country’s history has been intertwined with enforcing racism, ethnic discrimination and the oppression of the poor. At the same time they have been used to protect those with power and with money.

    In modern society with the many modality’s for surveillance available the power to interfere with the average citizen has been multiplied exponentially. LEO’s have been portrayed as victims by politicians looking for advancement and have likewise identified with that victimization and made it into
    their excuse for an “us vs. them” mentality. Finally, TV has
    made the world into a frightening place and almost 50% of the shows deal with crime, even in an era where crime rates have fallen. The last straw was 9/11, bringing with it Patriot Acts and worse. The police are being inculcated and trained to view the average citizen as a threat, no matter how harmless they may appear and are trained to deal with even minor refusals to obey their directions as deadly threats.
    Hence and incident, such as this.

    However, the second factor at play is the most obvious. The taser has been oversold as a non-lethal weapon and so its’ use is becoming increasingly more frequent in situations that could be handled by more tried and true police procedure. I truly believe that few police are really away of the dangers this supposed “non-lethal” tactical tool hold in store for the potential victims. I think too, that given this mindset gives permission to those more sadistically inclined officers to punish any perceived infraction of their authority via the taser and thereby gain the immediate gratification.

  3. Don K,

    as suggested in a previous post is it the rule of law or fear? I think mespo said that.

  4. Unfortunately, what probably will happen is he will be suspended with pay until things die down, won’t face charges (the prosecutor is his bowling buddy), and will be able to claim immunity from damage suits. Result – absolutely nothing. And any city council member or legislator who tries to impose limits on the use of tasers will be defeated at the next election after being accused by the police unions of being soft on crime and wanting criminals to run wild and rape your sons and daughters.

    Am I cynical? Yes. Are the police completely lawless now? Yes.

  5. I believe tasers should be allowed, but under much stricter guidelines. What if a lone officer has to subdue a big, unruly person? ~ NP0

    I TOTALLY agree, NPO.

    Unfortunately, instead of using the taser as a LAST resort, as an ALTERNATIVE to pulling their firearm, it is used to demand instant compliance from anyone they encounter. If you don’t adhere to their command instantly, if you ask a question that they don’t want to answer, if you attempt to assert your constitutional rights, you will be considered hostile and tasered.

    And what happened to peace officer? These folks, it seems, enjoying hurting the citizenry at the drop of a hat. A young girl who is clearly having emotional difficulty needs HELP not physical ABUSE.

  6. What about the Attorney General filing criminal charges against the Chief of Police and a nice 1983 action against the Police Department and Chief. Son of an illegitimate person.

  7. I believe tasers should be allowed, but under much stricter guidelines. What if a lone officer has to subdue a big, unruly person?

  8. A minor detail, but the taser fires two darts simultaneously (i presume to complete an electric circuit?). One dart went to the head, the other to the hip. I don’t think the cop shot at her twice…

    Still, I agree with you and your readers that this was not an incident that required the use of a taser at all, much less one to the head.

  9. This officer should be discharged from his position and charged with an assault and as mentioned earlier, prepare himself to pay alot of money to settle the private lawsuit that should be filed. The taser has proven all to often that it is a dangerous weapon that needs to be controlled by society. The Police who are authorized to use it need additional training and must suffer consequences when they misuse this dangerous weapon.

  10. I don’t think tasers should be illegalized because of idiots like these.
    What needs to be changed is the standard of assault this is considered to be.
    The officer’s ad hoc position that it was the right thing to do, is even more idiocy heaped on top of it all.
    It is the same thing as saying he whacked her in the skull with a hammer to prevent her from running into the street.
    And that is the standard that should be applied; tasering someone is on the order of whacking someone in the head with bat.

    If it would be considered acceptable for the circumstances to do that, then it would be civilly legal. If not, then they did something wrong, and should face legal consequences.

  11. Anon:

    in reading your post I am struck by the possibility that what you describe is beyond control because of the hundreds of thousands of faceless bureaucrats that will protect their livelihood at all costs. These people are the “real” government and pay lip service to elected officials, most of whom probably don’t know what is going on in the “back rooms” of power.

    Any effort to straighten out government must include a reduction in these positions otherwise it will be in vain.

  12. Many in law enforcement seem to be out of control these days. In addition to these incidents, there’s some sort of domestic operation going on that involves warrantless surveillance of individuals, including surreptitious home entries (“sneak ‘n peek searches”).

    I wouldn’t be surprised if the NSA is behind it all, given the phone and e-mail surveillance that’s come to light. When it comes to the fore, “it will be worse than Watergate”, as John (Jon?) Dean has said in reference to the abuses during the Bush years. Given my Kafka-esque experiences, I would agree. Yep. “Worse than Watergate.”

    These goons never leave any evidence, but are definitely up to something that many (and, hopefully, most) Americans would never condone. I don’t know the exact role of law enforcement, but some are involved — there’s no doubt about it. If one dares to speak up about these sadistic, Machiavellian practices, one is quickly dubbed “crazy” or delusional. Well, Martha Mitchell was thought to be “nuts” when she complained about widespread corruption in the Nixon White House. We know how that turned out…

    These operations/practices are buried in the world of mental illness. Some of those who are being targeted and surveilled are definitely mentally ill, some have been pushed in that direction and others are stone-cold-sane — at least as sane as the next guy and certainly more stable that those conducting these cruel programs of harassment. If all this sounds like something that someone who is absolutely “nuts” might “dream up”, think again. This is why it works and continues. Who would ever believe it? Well, someone had better or we’re totally screwed in this country.

    Bury the “warrantless surveillance(and worse)” of dissidents; whistleblowers; the mentally ill; perhaps those whose names were spit out by a faulty fusion center algorithm; those who oppose the war in Iraq and God-only-knows-who-else — bury it in what will be thought of as a “nutty conspiracy theory” and no one will ever believe it. It’s brilliantly cruel and decidedly unAmerican. It goes against the grain of the rule of law. It must be exposed and stopped.

  13. Tasers should be banned period. This is exactly the kind of treatment you would expect in China or North Korea. It is far past obvious that police are abusing this new toy and it should be stopped immediately. .

    These new paramilitary forces we have operating within the US borders posing as police officers are becoming increasingly dangerous to our rights as Americans. How many more people will it take to be killed or abused by tasers by rogue officers before Americans will have had enough?

    A Congressional comittee should be estabilished to put a stop to all of this and protect ordinary citizens from being treated like prisoners in a maximum security prison

  14. interesting defense. I think they may need to do away with Tasers or have a good deal more training for the officers in it’s use. They seem to be under the impression that because it is purportedly non-lethal they can use it in any situation.

    Is it the fault of the officers or the company that plays down the damage one of these things can do? It is good to have a non-lethal device for control of suspects/perps but this thing seems to get misused quite a bit. What are the actual statistics on lethality and serious injury from Taser usage?

  15. Tucumcari Police Chief Roger Hatcher!

    Welcome to the end of your career and the never ending garnishment of your wages.

    You moron.

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