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Saturday, October 04, 2008

Pine Hills, Florida mom says she was treated 'like a dog' when tased

Elaine Edwards' son David (rear) missed a lot of school in April, and deputies came to arrest her Sept. 12 at her Pine Hills home. She didn't know why, fought back, was tased and wants to sue. (George Skene, Orlando Sentinel / September 24, 2008)

Elaine Edwards had one question for the Orange County deputy sheriffs who came to arrest her last month: "What for?"
Deputies told the 41-year-old single mother they had a warrant for her arrest but didn't say — and they didn't have to — that she was in trouble because her handicapped son missed too many days at Robinswood Middle School in April.
That's why, Edwards said, she pulled away from deputies, sparking a struggle at her Pine Hills home Sept.12 that prompted deputies to shock her twice with a Taser.
Now Edwards faces a charge from the warrant — contributing to the delinquency of a minor — as well as new charges from the tussle with deputies: battery on a law-enforcement officer and two counts of resisting arrest with violence.

It's just the latest problem for a woman whose life has been marked by setbacks. Years ago, when Edwards was in jail for cocaine-related charges, her children were placed in foster care.
That's when, she said, her son David Jones lost both legs after contracting meningitis. In April, David, now 15, was unable to take the school bus to Robinswood Middle because the locks on his wheelchair — locks that must be engaged while the bus is moving — were broken.
Edwards, who is unemployed and couldn't drive her son to school because she doesn't have a car, said that's why David missed 17days in April. But Edwards said she told the school what was going on and thought his absences were all excused. Her daughter even picked up and dropped off David's homework until the lock was fixed and he returned.
Under Florida law, parents can be charged with a misdemeanor of contributing to the delinquency of a minor if their child misses more than 15 days of school and those absences are unexcused.
Edwards said there must have been a miscommunication because the absences should have been excused, adding that nothing justifies what happened when two deputies came to her house. When they didn't answer her question about the warrant, Edwards refused to identify herself and pulled away from Detective Jeffrey Mayer.
When Mayer grabbed her arm, Edwards said, she put her hand on top of his to get it off. She slapped his hand away, Mayer's report said. Mayer pulled Edwards off the porch and put her on the ground. She continued yelling and struggling with his knee in her back, she said.
Mayer couldn't cuff her, so he showed her his Taser and then shocked her in the back for five seconds, the report said."My heart rate went up, and it was hard for me to breathe," Edwards said. After handcuffing and tazing Edwards, Mayer explained that the warrant was because David missed too much school.
The tasing made two of her other sons, as well as two nephews, furious.
Edwards somehow got out of her handcuffs. Mayer tased her again. After one of her sons, Antonio Edwards, 21, punched out a window, Mayer drew his gun and called for backup, the report said. That son was charged with inciting a riot.
After getting shocked and arrested, Edwards went to the hospital twice, once before her six-day jail stay and once after. Even on the painkillers, muscle relaxers and antibiotics that were prescribed to her, Edwards said, the pain from the Taser in her back and neck persisted.
She had a hard time walking and worries about how she'll care for her family. Edwards said she wants to sue the Sheriff's Office but isn't sure when or how. Cpl. Susan Soto, a sheriff's spokeswoman, said that, according to the report, Mayer did everything correctly. Since being hired in 2001, he has used his Taser 13 times, not an unusually high number, and always in line with department rules, she said.
Edwards, who faces a Nov.19 court date for the original misdemeanor charge, said she will continue to tell the truth about what happened in hopes that "justice comes out of it."
"They shouldn't treat people like that for a simple warrant like that," she said. "They treated me like a dog."

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

A young boy and his father went out fishing one fine morning. After a few quiet hours out in the boat, the boy became curious about the world around him. He looked up at his father and asked "How do fish breath under water?" The father thought about it for a moment, then answered "I really don't know, son." The boy sat quietly from another moment, then asked his father again, "How does our boat float on the water?" Once again his dad replied, "Don’t know, son." Reflecting his thoughts again, a little while later, the boy asks "Why is the sky blue?" Again, his dad answered, "Don’t know, son." The curious boy, worried he was annoying his father, asks this time "Dad, do you mind that I'm asking you all of these questions?" "Of course not son", replied his father, "How else are you ever going to learn anything?"
Don't you feel that some articles and even whole blogs are much alike this story?