Kansas City, MO — After getting arrested and tased over a simple parking ticket, a store clerk has filed a lawsuit against the officer who used excessive force against him. Although the officer claimed that the clerk stood in a threatening position before he was forced to deploy his Taser, recently released dashcam video revealed that the officer lied and had no reason to lawfully detain the clerk.
On May 31, 2014, Officer Dale Secor approached a car parked perpendicular in a driveway and attempted to look through its tinted windows. When Short Stop Mini Mart clerk Damian Words saw the officer checking out his car, he stepped out of the store and crossed the street towards Secor. Before even speaking with Words, the officer immediately radioed for backup.
“You can’t park on the sidewalk,” Secor told Words.
“But you can’t go in nobody’s car,” Words responded.
“I can tow your car,” Secor replied.
Instead of writing a ticket or asking Words to move his car, Secor can be seen on dash cam video ignoring the clerk’s explanation while ordering Words to hand over his identification.
“My car was parked over here. I work here,” Words attempted to explain.
“Let me see your ID,” Secor ordered.
“What you need my ID for?” Words inquired.
“Your car’s parked illegally,” Secor answered even though a driver’s license is not required to issue a parking violation.
“So what? You going to give me a ticket? For what?” Words asked.
“Your car’s parked illegally,” Secor repeated.
As Words tries to explain why his car is parked illegally, Secor suddenly orders him to turn around in an attempt to detain him. Words, who is unarmed and not making any threatening gestures, explains, “I’ve got a store that I’m running. Man, I’m not about to turn around.”
“Turn around or you’re gonna get tased. You’re under arrest!” Secor shouts while aiming his Taser at Words. Although Words attempts to speak rationally with the aggressive officer, Secor instantly escalates the situation instead of talking to Words like a person. As a patrol car approaches in the background, Secor inexplicably fires his Taser hitting Words in the arm and chest without reason.
After Words hits the ground, the second officer exits his vehicle and cuffs his hands behind his back. With the second officer squatting over his head, Words says, “Golly, man! I work here.”
Without an ounce of compassion, the second officer continues squatting over him and replies, “Yeah? Good for you, dude.”
Although Secor was able to remove the Taser probe in Words’ chest, the store clerk had to wait ten minutes for paramedics to remove the probe in his arm. In his arrest report, Secor claimed that he feared Words may have had a weapon, but no weapon was found at the scene. Secor also wrote that Words, “bladed his body and got into a power stance” a moment before Secor fired his Taser.
But Secor’s dash cam video revealed that the officer provided false information in his report. During the moments before Secor fired his Taser, Words remained calm with his empty hands exposed and not standing in a threatening position. He simply wanted to know why Secor was arresting him over a parking ticket.
Secor also wrote in his report that Words was listed as a known gang member after running his license plate. But federal records and state records in Kansas, Missouri, and Michigan reveal that Words is not a gang member and has no history of violent crime.
Charged with failing to comply with an officer and resisting arrest, Words only pleaded guilty to parking illegally. He paid a $50 fine. Words also filed a lawsuit against the Kansas City Police Department and Officer Secor for unnecessary and excessive use of force over a mere parking ticket.
The video below highlights two key points: the power of a cop’s word against yours and the power video has to expose lies.