An Alabama woman claims in a lawsuit that police officers used a stun gun on her daughter three times while the teenage girl was suffering from seizures at a hip-hop concert in Rainbow City, Ala.
The lawsuit filed earlier this month in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Alabama also claims that the girl’s mother was shocked with a stun gun after she showed up at the venue.
“A Taser was used three times on a child’s chest, during a medical emergency, while she was pinned to the ground by officers,” Gregory Harp, attorney for the plaintiffs, told Alabama Media Group. “Other officers present at the scene failed to intervene. Her mother was knocked to the ground, handcuffed, and then she herself Tased and arrested.”
The incident involved members of the Rainbow City Police Department, according to the 32-page lawsuit. Rainbow City Police Chief Greg Carroll and Center Stage, the venue at which the alleged incident took place in January, are also among the defendants named in the court filing.
Messages left with the Rainbow City attorney and Center Stage were not immediately returned Tuesday.
The lawsuit also claims that three police officers from neighboring Gadsden, Ala., were involved in the incident, though the identities of those officers were not yet known when the suit was filed. The Media Group reports that the officers were allegedly “handling security” for the event.
Here’s what happened, according to the court filing: The girl suffered a grand mal seizure while she was attending high school earlier in the day on Jan. 16. She was treated by paramedics, but didn’t go to a hospital.
Later that night, the girl and her friends attended a Kevin Gates concert in Rainbow City. The suit alleges that the performer at one point left the stage during the show, which triggered a “stampede” from the crowd. The girl was knocked down and began to have another seizure.
According to the lawsuit, she was carried into the lobby of the venue, where she was “unceremoniously dumped” on the floor. She then suffered another seizure, which is about when the girl’s mother arrived, according to court documents.
The suit alleges the mother learned of her daughter’s condition from the sister and came to the venue. When she arrived at the lobby dressed in a T-shirt and pajamas, the mother was “held down on the ground at five different points of her body” by police, then restrained to hold her wrists, hands and fingers immobile. After a police officer twice instructed another officer to “get her,” an officer fired his Taser at the mother while she was restrained, causing her to urinate.
As the mother was being shocked with the stun gun, the court filing states, her daughter “attempted to raise her head” while officers and a venue employee restrained her. At that point, the lawsuit says, an officer hit her with the stun gun three times. At that point, the suit says, she suffered yet another seizure “and was rendered unconscious.”
She awoke in an ambulance en route to a local hospital, according to the suit, which called “the repeated deployment of a stun gun” on the teen girl “unconstitutional.”
“The use of force by the Named Defendants was excessive and not objectively reasonable in light of the facts and circumstances confronting them,” the suit states.
The plaintiffs are seeking damages for “physical pain and suffering” and emotional distress, as well as medical expenses and attorney’s fees, according to the documents.