Two police officers, Ryan Smith of the Lumpkin Georgia Police Department and Tim Murphy of the Richland Police Department, have left their positions after repeatedly using a Taser on 57-year-old Janice Wells of Stewart County, Ga.
Ms. Wells, a third grade school teacher, had called the police to report a prowler outside her home. She called the police for help, but shortly after they arrived she was soon pleading with them to stop shocking her with a Taser.
During the unbelievable scene Wells was also blasted with a dose of pepperspray. Officer Smith, who resigned after the incident, was the officer wielding the Taser. He had responded from a neighboring county to back up Officer Murphy since his own local sheriff’s office was busy with other calls and couldn’t provide assistance. Smith resigned, but proceedings to fire him were already in progress. Smith’s former boss, Chief Steven Ogle, had this to say after viewing the in-car video, “I couldn’t believe it. You don’t use it [a Taser] for punitive reasons, to prod someone. It was evident it was an improper use of force. He was an excellent officer other than that incident.” (Chief Ogle’s comment from AJC).
Smith remains adamant that he used the appropriate tactics.
Officer Tim Murphy was fired by his department.
Former Officer Ryan Smith has since gone to work for the neighboring Chattahoochee County Sheriff’s Office.
Janice Wells told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, “All of it’s just unreal to me. I was scared to death. He kept tasing me and tasing me. My fingernails are still burned. My leg, back and my butt had a long scar on it for days.”
It’s a little unclear, but it’s possible the use of force began when Wells either wouldn’t, or couldn’t, answer questions about the prowler. Still, we do not know what happened inside the house, nor do we know about any of the events that led to Ms. Wells’ unusual position outside the patrol car.
*The kind folks over at Mysteries and Margaritas have invited me to guest blog on their site today. Please stop by to say hi. As usual, I’ve told one of my wacky stories.