Lawsuit: Police stunned 86-year-old woman

June 27, 2010 at 5:33 PM
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EL RENO, Okla., June 27 (UPI) -- Oklahoma police "cruelly injured" an 86-year-old disabled woman by using a stun gun on her while she was in a hospital-type bed, a federal lawsuit alleges.

Lona M. Varner and her grandson, Lonnie D. Tinsley of El Reno, Okla., filed a federal law suit in Oklahoma City saying their civil rights were violated. The damages being sought weren't specified.

They allege El Reno failed to adequately discipline and train its police officers involved a Dec. 22 incident when El Reno officers used a stun gun on Varner after she allegedly threatened them from her bed, The Oklahoman reported Sunday.

Tinsley had allegedly called 911 to summon paramedics to check on Varner.

"She says … her life is over. She wants to end it. … She's taken some medicine. I don't know what she's taken," Tinsley said in the 911 call. "I can't get her to tell me what she took. … She's kind of upset and everything else."

As many as 10 police officers arrived, with at least one stepping on Varner's oxygen hose "until she began to suffer oxygen deprivation," the law suit alleges.

Varner allegedly pulled a knife from under a pillow and threatened officers, one of whom fired a stun gun at her, striking with only one prong, The Oklahoman reported.

"The police then fired a second Taser, striking her to the right and left of the midline of her upper chest and applied high voltage, causing burns to her chest, extreme pain and to pass out," attorneys alleged in the lawsuit. "The police then grabbed Ms. Varner by her forearms and jerked hands together, causing her soft flesh to tear and bleed on her bed; they then handcuffed her."

Neither the city nor the police department would comment.

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