PIERRE, S.D., Aug. 9 (UPI) -- A mother is suing police in Pierre, S.D., after they used a Taser on an 8-year-old girl who was threatening to hurt herself with a knife.
Dawn Stenstrom, the girl's mother, said police used "excessive force" when they fired Taser darts at the girl's chest and shocked her in October.
"The force of the electricity shot through her body, lifted her, and threw her against a wall. After the officers had stunned (the girl) into high voltage submission, they pulled the fish-hook like Taser darts from her chest, gave her emergency medical attention, bandaged the holes left by the razor-sharp hooks, and called the ambulance," the lawsuit said.
Robert Grandpre, who was chief of police at the time of the incident, defended the officers' actions, saying they might have saved the girl's life by using the Taser.
Stenstrom's lawyer, Dana Hanna said the officers could have used another tactic to disarm the girl.
"One distracts her, another grabs the girl's arm. That's what they should have done," Hanna said. "She had a kitchen paring knife, but hadn't cut. She was a kid throwing a tantrum. They should have made an attempt to grab the kid, not use a weapon to throw her into a wall. A Taser's not meant to kill, but it does kill. Many people have died after being hit by a Taser by cops. It never should be used on a little child. She certainly wasn't presenting a danger to officers."