A New Mexico policeman is accused in a new lawsuit of tasering a 10-year-old child on a playground after the boy refused to clean his patrol car. The lawsuit has been filed by a guardian ad litem, Rachel Higgins, and accuses New Mexico Department of Public Safety and Motor Transportation Police Officer Chris Webb of the battery on the child.
Higgins alleges that Webb visited the boy’s school as part of a May 4 “career day” visit to Tularosa New Mexico Intermediate School. The complaint alleges:
“Defendant Webb asked the boy, R.D., in a group of boys, who would like to clean his patrol unit. A number of boys said that they would. R.D., joking, said that he did not want to clean the patrol unit.
Defendant Webb responded by pointing his Taser at R.D. and saying, ‘Let me show you what happens to people who do not listen to the police.'”
The Complaint says that Webb then shot “two barbs into R.D.’s chest” delivering 50,000 volts to the boy who weighed less than 100 lbs. “Defendant Webb pulled the barbs out [of] the boy’s chest, causing scarring where the barbs had entered the boy’s skin that look like cigarette burns on the boy’s chest. . . . Instead of calling emergency medical personnel, Officer Webb pulled out the barbs and took the boy to the school principal’s office.”
The lawsuit is seeking punitive damages for battery, failure to render emergency medical care, excessive force, unreasonable seizure, and negligent hiring, training, supervision and retention.
News reports indicate that the officer insisted that his taser went off accidentally. However, while this would undermine criminal charges, the question remains of the disciplining of the officer who drew a weapon as a joke on a child. The attorneys submitted a letter from an expert finding no likely malfunctioning of the weapon.