Diabetic Driver Claims Police Pulled Him Over During Diabetic Emergency and Tasered Him Seven Times

A federal lawsuit has been filed against Hamilton County (Ohio) Sheriff deputies by John Harmon, a diabetic who was suffering from dangerously low sugar levels when he was allegedly tasered and “violently dragged from the vehicle, thrown on the ground, kicked in the head by a boot, and stomped mercilessly while lying on his back.”

Harmon says he was experiencing a medical emergency when he was pulled over. An African American, he suggests that he was driving through a white neighborhood.

Accused in the October 2009 incident are four officers. Harmon says he was pulled over for weaving and Patrol Officer Ryan Wolf “approached Harmon’s vehicle with his gun drawn along with a second patrol officer, Matthew Wissel.” Harmon alleges that Wolf shattered his driver side window without giving him an opportunity to comply with his order to get out of the vehicle. He says that he was tasered by Wissel and pulled by the officers, including Officer John Haynes from the vehicle. Wissel cut Harmon’s seatbelt to get him out and Harmon claims he was “violently dragged from the vehicle, thrown on the ground, kicked in the head by a boot, and stomped mercilessly while lying on his back. In the process, Harmon suffered numerous injuries, including a severely dislocated elbow and trauma to his shoulder and thumb. During the course of these events, which lasted approximately two minutes and twenty seconds, he was Tased seven times.”

In all, he claims to have been tasered seven times. When an officer arrived at the scene and saw his diabetic kit, he was asked if he was a diabetic and the officers then called paramedics. It was later confirmed that Harmon’s blood sugar was dangerously low.

This complaint also includes an allegation that, at the hospital, Patrol Officer Shawn Cox refused to let Harmon use the bathroom, which forced him to urinate on himself. He was then charged with “(1) failure to comply with an order or signal of a police officer; (2) resisting arrest; (3) operating his vehicle with only one headlight; and (4) failure to drive in a marked lane.”

I expect that the police will argue that the low blood sugar might have been the result of the physical trauma and stress of the arrest. Strenuous exercise can sometimes pose a danger for diabetics. Thus, they could claim that the weaving was not the result of diabetes and that the low sugar was the result of the arrest. Even with the diabetes, weaving would be a legitimate basis to pull over the car, but the response to a person going into diabetic shock would not normally include repeated tasers.

They would still have to address the need for such extreme levels of force. Of course, there are at least five officers who will be available to testify as witnesses for the county and there is no indication of a dashcam video, which probably would not show the action in the interior of Harmon’s car anyway. However, it would show how quickly the police resorted to smashing the window and using the first taser.

Source: Courthouse

Jonathan Turley

36 thoughts on “Diabetic Driver Claims Police Pulled Him Over During Diabetic Emergency and Tasered Him Seven Times”

  1. Yes, Carlyle Moulton, you are correct in that the tasing-officer needs life without parole. For sure! 🙂

  2. Swarthmore mom,

    Good points all…

    According to the article, he was “allegedly tasered” and “violently dragged from the vehicle, thrown on the ground, kicked in the head by a boot, and stomped mercilessly while lying on his back.”

    There is no excuse for the above. None.

  3. I have family members with diabetes and I am constantly reminding them to wear their id bracelets. Hopefully, the police will see this and realize the person is not drunk and out of control. The diabetic needs to protect him or herself from potential abuse. Also, another good thing is to check one’s blood sugar before you get behind the wheel of a car.

  4. Carlyle Moulton

    “For those with iffy sarcasm detectors I point out that the foregoing is death ray level sarcasm for the 25th of December.”

    ==============

    There are way too many thugs out there with tasers and anger-management issues. Thanks for a spot-on commment, laced with the appropriate level of sarcasm.

    As culheath asked, “Can you describe a legitimate scenario for cops to be stomping anyone they stop?”

  5. Diabetes is no excuse for dissing the cops. When the police ordered the diabetic driver out of the car he should have responded instantly. Failure to do so cannot be excused by the mere fact that he was on the point of passing out.

    Get this you Americans, you live in a police state and the police are the only people with rights. When an American policeman yells unintelligible orders at you you must respond correctly within one microsecond, failure to do so is resisting arrest, assaulting police and they are quite entitled to kill you with a fusillade of bullet hits (as with the Seattle wood carver), multiple taserings or by kicking you to death. If you survive expect a long term of imprisonment. Besides this guy was black, what was he doing outside prison.

    For those with iffy sarcasm detectors I point out that the foregoing is death ray level sarcasm for the 25th of December.

  6. Exactly Cullheath, the issue of whether the guy was diabetic is irrelevant to their illegal actions of tasering the guy who was not a threat to anyone. Life without parole for them, definitely, you convinced me. Thanks. 🙂

  7. It seems to me that whether or not this guy was diabetic has nothing to do with the fact that the cops acted as they did toward anyone for any reason.

    Can you describe a legitimate scenario for cops to be stomping anyone they stop?

    As a diabetic, I know that incredibly disorienting hypoglycemic episodes can occur exceeding fast and have had to pull over to consume some sugar to prevent passing out. I think the tag notification is a good idea, as would be a notice on the driver license. I also think that diabetics should be legally required to carry readily available sugar products of some sort with them in the car because it really is a potentially dangerous situation.

  8. Thanks for that, lottakatz — the perfect hoiday “starter” vid… And your enthusiasm is contagious. Happy Holidays to you as well.

  9. Totally off topic-

    WOOHOO! IT’S SNOWING!!!!!! HAPPY HOLIDAYS!!!!!!

    [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-mSSPM3ies0&fs=1&hl=en_US&rel=0]

  10. I debated about adding a sarcasm tag to my post but figured as bright as everyone is in this group it was not necessary. I was wrong to think that & for that I apologize.

    BTW – this too is sarcasm but of a slightly different structure.

  11. Outlaw tasers.

    Defund your local police.

    Arm yourselves. Protect your family.

    Abolish the DHS (local cops on steroids, e.g.: American Gestapo).

    Do it soon before it is too late.

    You cannot reform the cops. Too late. Defund them. Get rid of them.

  12. MFM,

    Driving is a privileged, not a right. There are all kinds of restrictions on licenses. HIPPA would not be an issue if it was voluntary and not much different than electing to wear a med-alert bracelet or necklace and a tag annotation 1) keeps the information relatively private and 2) is more likely to be seen by a cop whose first impulse is to “beat the drunk”.

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