[WATCH] City of Chariton Pays $67,500 to Settle a Lawsuit After Police Officer Uses Taser on a Woman With Mental Disability

The city of Chariton will pay $67,500 to settle a lawsuit stemming from a police officer using a Taser on a woman who had a mental disability, public records show.

In one instance, the officer used his Taser while the woman was in the back of a squad car with leg shackles and handcuffs.

Multiple city leaders declined to discuss the settlement, which was released Monday to The Des Moines Register as part of a public records request.

“I’m not going to respond. As far as I’m concerned, it’s done. Sorry,” Councilwoman Ruth Smith said.

The woman, Cherish “Amy” Storm, had electroconvulsive therapy just two days before the August 2010 incident in which she was pulled over by Chariton officer Tyler Ruble.

Police video of the incident shows Storm, who is now 36, in a state of hysterics. The video shows her resisting being handcuffed and swearing throughout the incident, in which officers transport her to a local hospital.

Police used a Taser on Storm three times — including just seconds after her boyfriend informed Ruble that Storm had a mental disability and received electroconvulsive therapy two days earlier, the video shows.

The last Taser jolt comes after Storm was placed in leg shackles and handcuffs and was lying in the back of a squad car. After Storm kicked the inside of the car, Ruble opened the door and without warning used his Taser on her. Later, in a report, the officer wrote that he used the Taser to prevent her from hurting herself.

Storm was convicted of interference with official acts and assault causing bodily injury. She was placed on probation for one year and fined $250, online court records show.

Storm, represented by the Parrish Kruidenier law firm in Des Moines, filed a lawsuit against Ruble, Chariton Police Chief Jeff Johnson and the city alleging civil rights violations for unreasonable search and seizure,as well as for assault and battery.

Civil rights groups such as Amnesty International have questioned the use of Tasers on citizens, specifically on those who are already restrained. The human rights advocacy organization is calling on federal and state governments to adopt policies to limit the use of the devices.

City leaders have either declined to speak about the incident or have not returned multiple phone calls and emails about it. That includes four phone messages and several emails in the last month to Johnson, the police chief. Chariton Mayor Roger Manser did not return phone calls Monday seeking comment.

Jason Palmer, an attorney for the city, and Corey Goodenow, the city manager, also have not responded to questions from the Register about the city’s policies that govern Taser use.

In response to a Nov. 7 public records request for a copy of the department’s Taser policy, city leaders provided a two-page use-of-force policy dated 1996 that does not list Tasers as an approved intermediate weapon.

Dennis Bisgard, a Chariton city councilman, said city leaders have been asked not to comment on the incident and settlement. Bisgard said city leaders have yet to determine if they will update the 17-year-old policy that does not include Tasers as an approved intermediate weapon.

The settlement, signed Dec. 16, specifically states that the payment shall not be construed as an admission of liability from the city. It includes a provision that prohibits either party from making “any negative or disparaging statements against or about the other party.”

Storm’s attorney, Robert Montgomery, recommended Monday that she not speak with a reporter, citing the provision in the settlement agreement about negative statements. Storm plans to use some of the settlement money to buy a house and “try to move forward with life,” Montgomery said.

“Amy is happy to have this unfortunate situation resolved and behind her,” Montgomery said.

Source: http://www.desmoinesregister.com/story/news/2013/12/31/chariton-pays-67500-after-taser-incident/4259135/