Shock Video: New York Officer Tasers Mother in Front of Children After Minor Traffic Stop

Audra Harmon, 38, has sued the Onondaga County (N.Y.) Sheriff’s Department in yet another abusive use of a taser without provocation. In this video, the officer yanks Harmon out of the car in order to taser her. What is fascinating is that the officer, Deputy Sean Andrews, could have cuffed her but repeatedly positions her to be tasered.

Harmon is a school bus driver with 11 years experience and contested the officer’s claim of a traffic violation. Her 15-year-old son and 5-year-old daughter watched the horrible scene unfold despite her pleas to the officer that he should not do this in front of her children. Andrews is so busy tasering and arresting the mother that he leaves the children unattended in the van for forty minutes. He then filed an array of abusive charges against her.

tdy_vieira_taser_090814.300wShe was accused by Andrews of talking on her cellphone — which he then escalates into a tasering and arrest.

He also charged her with going 50 in a 45 mph zone. That’s right, five miles over the speed limit for a few seconds after making a turn. She was also charged with resisting arrest and disorderly conduct. The proliferation of charges is common in these abuse cases (here). All charges were later dismissed. Based simply on the abusive charges, this officer should be removed from the force.

She has wisely sued for the violation of her Fourth and 14th Amendment rights as well as an array of torts claims, including intentionally inflicting emotional distress, false arrest, assault and battery and malicious prosecution.

For the full story, click here.

31 thoughts on “Shock Video: New York Officer Tasers Mother in Front of Children After Minor Traffic Stop”

  1. Thank you Mike. My concern with “City Psychiatrists/Psychologists” is that they might become ingrained within the system and then perhaps become “too” friendly with the officers they might have to ‘sideline’ for a period of mental recuperation. However, as someone who had one entry-level psychology class and a requisite LEO course in criminal psychology, I certainly cannot be too critical.

    As I have stated elsewhere, I think that the abuse/problems have always been endemic in LE and those issues are exposed more with video, the Internet, and the increased number of officers available for exposure. Whatever the etiology, there appears to be a real problem that needs researching to determine if the problems are in the realm the anecdotal or ‘insignificant’ isolated cases or if they are actually statistically significant.

  2. “Mike Spindell, have you ever performed such evaluations on police officers or know of associates who have?”

    I never have because in NYC this is done by City Psychiatrists/Psychologists and I never met them. I agree with your other statements about LE in general and find it so sad that what could be among our most honorable professions is besmirched by the “blue code of silence.”

    As for some officers being psychologically affected, back in the 60’s I was friendly with two Narcs, who worked undercover together. I met them through the guy who sold me grass and they used to get it from him, with a quid pro quo of not busting him. They were generally good guys, but quite on edge and you had to tread softly when you were with them due to their quick tempers.

    What I found fascinating and this was before I even had thought of becoming a therapist, was that I “stono Hippie” that I was then, thought that they were out of control drug wise. You know better than I the pressures put on LEO’s and many of these pressures come from their own agencies and superiors. We look at PTSD in soldiers, but fail to realize that this can be common among some LEO’s.

  3. This LEO must receive substantive punishment and at least 6 months to a year in prison for the violation of this woman’s rights. LEOs need to step back and realize what is happening within their ranks, just as Jill mentioned.

    The brass need to reassess training, there needs to be mental evaluations of officers at least every 5 years, and they must receive help if they are under stress at any time. LE is an intense and stressful duty for many LEOs in the trenches and, like the military, they need to seek help, *without initial retribution* before they go overboard with abusing citizens. If after thorough evaluations, an officer is found unfit for “street duty” there are other jobs he/she can perform until there is a follow-up evaluation. If he/she failed 2 evaluations, then it is time to find another career.

    Mike Spindell, have you ever performed such evaluations on police officers or know of associates who have?

  4. tasers, tasers everywhere.

    I still think that if the cops have tasers we should have tasers.
    isn’t there a 2nd amendment provision for this? if a cop hassles you shouldn’t you have the right to taser him? afterall, they are harmeless and don’t do any real damage.

  5. The only crimes committed in this case were committed by the so-called police officer.

    He is a phony, he is no police officer.

  6. Then he leaves the kids alone while he carts his ‘trophy’ back to the station. I hope some of her torts claims deal with endangering her kids.

  7. Blackwater Still Armed in Iraq
    By Jeremy Scahill

    August 14, 2009

    “Despite the Iraqi government’s announcement earlier this year that it had canceled Blackwater’s operating license, the US State Department continues to allow Blackwater operatives in Iraq to remain armed. A State Department official told The Nation that Blackwater (which recently renamed itself Xe Services) is now operating in Iraq under the name “US Training Center” and will continue its armed presence in the country until at least September 3. That means Blackwater will have been in Iraq nearly two years after its operatives killed seventeen Iraqi civilians in Baghdad’s Nisour Square.”

    Here’s an update Martin and here’s where our money is going in Iraq.

  8. What I really like, is how after the woman is tased and helpless, the officer drags her into traffic.

  9. I hope something like what is happening in Iran will happen here. Anytime the govt. wants to send a message, they put out the call to goon squads who empty into the streets beating the crap out of people. Finally, even these hired goons are beginning to question why they are attacking their own people.

    I want US LEOs to question what they are doing. They are acting like cowards, first in attacking the innocent and secondly, in not holding their own to account. Authoritarians are always cowards. They hold all the cards given to them by the state. This means the don’t need to abuse others, and yet, with the full power of the state behind them, they still choose to harm others.

    LEOs wake up. We are your neighbors. Your job is to protect the people, not abuse us. I ask all LEOs of conscience to speak out when you see wrong doing among your own. There is no honor in harming the helpless so don’t allow it.

  10. This shows the importance of video. 1) After the Nisour Square incident in Baghdad, Condoleezza Rice said that Blackwater would be asked to install dash cams, if I recall correctly. I don’t believe that this has happened. 2) Turning off the video, as you recently reported happened in Louisiana, should be considered tampering with evidence.

  11. Mike S.,

    I like you spin on that, or this or whatever its is. Pound of Flesh.

  12. I have to agree with the consensus here that this is a obvious abuse of authority and the county should settle this case before any jury sees this video or the award could be staggering. To not only be tasered for a very minor and possibly abusive charge is bad enough, but to do it in front of your childredn is a crime. This police officer should be dismissed immediately and criminal charges should be brought. This is just another example of why the taser is an overused device by the police when common sense dictates that it is unnecessary. I wouldn’t be surprised if the children will need counseling after this incident. Very sad.

  13. This is perhaps the clearest case of taser abuse we’ve seen save for the 72 year old Grandmother. There is not even the slightest shred of excuse for this being done since she was under his control, following his orders and could have easily been handcuffed. However, just why was he arresting her in the first place? Speeding five miles over the limit, I think not.
    Obviously, He was upset that she disputed the charges with him and possibly from his perspective had been disrespectful. That the DA dismissed all the charges so quickly is indicative that there was nothing there in the first place.

    As for the police officer this is clearly a blatant abuse of power, without reason. To me this indicates very poor judgment on his part. That he might have been having a bad day is no excuse, because if it was then, people could wind up dead because an officer had a dispute with his wife. What if this woman had a condition that could have killed her? What purpose would this whole exercise have served. This man lacks the judgment and temperament to be a police officer. Each of us had made mistakes at work, but a mistake of this magnitude would have led to firing anywhere I have worked, or for anyone who had worked for me.

    I await with baited breath the usual response from those with vested interests we get with the proliferation of taser stories, finding some bogus justification for this act.

  14. Audra Harmon, with a name like that she deserves to get the death sentence. OMG and to be a school bus driver in her own van, she certainly deserves more than a tasering for going 5 miles over the speed limit in a personal vehicle. That Officer should not only be promoted to chief he should get a raise for his heroic efforts to stop a person from committing a Civil Infraction in front of her children. That despicable person had to audacity to talk on her cellphone while an officer was doing his job. No tasering is not good enough for her. She should have been shot by the Police. That’s is. Her children should have been placed in the custody of Protective Services after she abandoned them and left them unattended, who knows what a 15 year old could teach a 5 year old. The officer screwed up by not finding out how come there is a 10 year difference between the 2 children. She should have then been taken to the mental institution for evaluation for child endangerment and lose her right to drive a school bus for speeding for a few seconds.

    I am only kidding. Geeze what the hell was this officer thinking. Oh, that is correct, they don’t think thats why they are cops. They are just following orders.

    The one that gets to me is the Resisting and Obstructing Charge for fighting a blood draw for a drunk driving, when the man is already strapped to a gurney. That one really gets me. I know I represented the person. The man claims that he does not recall ever being stopped.

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