Cop Cleared By Grand Jury For Tasering Great Grandmother During Speeding Stop
An Austin cop was cleared of any wrong doing by a grand jury this week after he tased a 72 year old woman during a routine speeding stop.
The Travis County grand jury declined to indict Deputy Constable Christopher Bieze on a charge of injury to an elderly person, following the incident on May 11, 2009.
Bieze pulled over Kathryn Winkfein on Texas 71, west of Austin, on suspicion of driving 60mph in a 45mph zone.
When the great grandmother refused to sign the citation, Bieze ordered her out of the car and threatened to tase her.
The 4-foot-11 Winkfein dared the Deputy Constable to use his Taser on her, as her began pushing her away from the road when she attempted to return to her vehicle.
Apparently at his wits end, Bieze took her up on the dare and hit her with 50,000 volts from the shock gun.
In dash cam footage, Winkfein can be seen collapsing in paralysis on the ground screaming, while Bieze shouts at her to put her hands behind her back.
Watch the video:
Here is a longer uncut version of the video:
Despite the court’s decision, District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg criticized the actions of Bieze, noting “While Deputy Constable Bieze may have followed the letter of the law, a more prudent use of discretion may have resulted in a different outcome.”
“In the end, they determined only that Bieze’s actions were legal. However, their decision was not an endorsement of either party to this conflict.” Lehmberg added.
An internal investigation also concluded that Bieze didn’t violate any county policies and he was not disciplined.
Mrs Winkfein was awarded a $40,000 settlement by Travis County commissioners last October, after she filed a lawsuit seeking $175,000 from the county.
The Taser is designed to be used as a weapon of last resort before lethal action by police. However, in hundreds of publicized cases, police have used the Taser as soon as someone displayed a “fighting stance” or simply to get a non-violent suspect to do what they were told.
The failure to find any fault with the officer’s actions in this latest case bolsters the notion that “pain compliance,” a euphemism for torture, is acceptable in apprehending anyone even if that person poses no physical danger.
As we have seen from the number of taser related deaths in recent years, if you electrify any person, they suffer extreme pain and stand a high chance of being killed.In comments to the Austin American Statesman, Bieze’s supervisor Constable Richard McCain said that Bieze did nothing wrong but that his office has since changed and clarified policies regarding Taser use, and has increased training in part to better handle “difficult people.”
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