The city of Haskell in Arkansas is facing a bizarre and high disturbing allegation from a woman, Ashlea Bennett, who says that she was tasered by officer Brandon Carter after refusing to show him her breasts.
The incident occurred in December 2011. Bennett says that “upon her refusal, Carter drew his City of Haskell-issued electroshock taser weapon from his utility belt, pointed the weapon at plaintiff, and threatened to deploy the same against her if she would not expose her breasts to him.” Carter is accused of chasing her around her workplace. The complaint states that “activated and deployed his electroshock taser weapon in ‘drive stun’ mode numerous times at or directed at the plaintiff.”
Equally disturbing is the allegation that, when she reported the alleged abuse, Bennett’s complaint was ignored by the police department.
Bennett is alleging civil rights violations, assault, failure to train and supervise and negligent supervision for ignoring her previous complaints.
It is a highly damaging combination for a potential jury. The taser allegation is of course bad enough but, when you combine it with a claim of police disinterest, a jury could express outrage in the verdict and damages.
With a population of only 4,255, it is hard to imagine how such an allegation could be overlooked. The town is also likely to face crippling costs from this litigation unless it can show that Bennett is simply lying. The absence of any criminal charge of the officer is particularly telling. Unless Bennett is lying, the officer committed criminal assault and battery as well as abuse of official authority in the encounter.
I have not been able to locate a response from the police chief, but we will continue to follow the story.