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Police stun gun use on boy appropriate

  |   June 22, 2010 at 6:18 PM
MARTINSVILLE, Ind., June 22 (UPI) -- A grand jury decided not to indict two police officers in the use of a stun gun to control a 10-year-old Indiana boy at a day-care center, court records show.

Martinsville, Ind., police officer Darren Johnson and Capt. William Jennings were placed on leave without salary following the March 30 incident at the Tender Teddies Day Care in Martinsville.

But David Powell, a former Greene County prosecutor acting as special prosecutor, said Monday the officers followed department policy appropriately in zapping the special needs boy, The Indianapolis Star reported.

Powell said Johnson, who fired the stun gun, committed no criminal offense, and a Morgan County grand jury decided not to charge Jennings, the Star reported.

Police were called to the day care after the boy's third violent incident that day in which he bit, kicked, spat at, cursed and struck others with his hands. His foster mother and another woman were unable to restrain him, the police record showed.

The officers tried unsuccessfully to control the boy with their hands, and then Johnson discharged his stun gun against the boy's shoulder. The boy then calmed down, the newspaper reported.

"The evidence demonstrates that the juvenile was engaged in self-injurious behaviors and the use of the Taser stopped that behavior and prevented further self-inflicted injury to this juvenile and possibly others," the police report said.

"When people hear 'day-care center,' they're skeptical of the adults and ask if that (stun gun use) was necessary. But for those who are in security and law enforcement and child services, we're dealing with younger children who are more aggressive and violent toward others and themselves, and that makes it extremely challenging," said Kenneth Trump, president of the National School Safety and Security Services in Cleveland.

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