A terrifying run-in with law enforcement has left a 17-year-old high school student with brain damage after the police officer improperly used a taser when subduing him. Now, a federal judge has ordered that dash cam footage of the incident be released to the public – and you can watch the video above.
In the graphic clip, police officer Timothy N. Runnels from Independence, Missouri can be seen approaching the vehicle's passenger side window, where he insists that the occupant roll the window “all the way down.” When the passenger does not comply, he walks around the car to the driver's side and opens the door, ordering the driver to exit the vehicle.
The driver, Bryce Masters, asks if he is under arrest, but Runnels does not answer. “I'm gonna pull you out if you don't come out,” he threatens. “Do you really want to get tased right here in the middle of your car?”
A struggle ensues as Masters repeatedly asks if he is under arrest. “Alright, fine,” Runnels says before tasing Masters, who can be heard groaning in pain. Runnels orders him to put his hands behind his back, but Masters appears completely incapacitated and unable to comply.
Runnels discharged the taser for approximately 20 seconds – four times longer than is necessary – and waited several minutes before calling an ambulance.
Court testimony reveals that Masters went into cardiac arrest and suffered oxygen deprivation that led to brain damage, nearly killing him. Masters claims that the incident has left him with cognitive difficulties, including forgetfulness and an inability to focus – conditions that could plague him for the rest of his life.
Runnels pleaded guilty to violating Masters' civil rights and was sentenced to four years in prison. The Masters family – which includes Masters' father, a Kansas City police officer – released a statement following the sentencing.
“While we are pleased that Mr. Runnels was held accountable for his actions, no one really wins in this scenario,” the statement said. “Two law enforcement families were devastated by these events and we all simply wish that day had never happened.
Source: Kansas City Star