Etowah County, AL -- A family has filed a lawsuit against police after a mother and daughter were repeatedly tasered by Rainbow City cops during a concert.
The lawsuit alleges that at least five Rainbow City officers and three Gadsden officers, who were handling security for a Jan. 16 hip-hop concert, of excessive force, torture "and other cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment." Also named in the suit are Rainbow City Police Chief Greg Carroll and Center Stage, the entertainment venue where the suit alleges the incident took place.
AL.com spoke to the attorney for the family who says the lawsuit speaks for itself.
"A Taser was used three times on a child's chest, during a medical emergency, while she was pinned to the ground by officers," he said. "Other officers present at the scene failed to intervene. Her mother was knocked to the ground, handcuffed, and then she herself Tased and arrested."
"The actions of the ...defendants ...were unjustified, unprovoked, and objectively unreasonable and constitute a violation of their rights under the Fourth Amendment and/or the Fourteenth Amendment to be free from the use of excessive force," the suit states.
According to the lawsuit, the child had a seizure earlier that day and was treated at school but not hospitalized. An accident left the child with a condition that brings on seizures causing her to lose consciousness, experience muscle contractions and "sometimes exhibit loud vocalizations caused by the forceful exhalation of air from her lungs."
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According to the lawsuit, after the concert began at 8 p.m., a performer at one point left the stage and went into the crowd, causing a "stampede" that knocked the teenager to the floor. Other concertgoers "trampled" her, triggering a seizure.
This caused the crowd to part around the girl, and her younger sister informed employees of Center Stage that she was suffering a seizure. The suit states an employee picked her up and carried her to the lobby, where she was "unceremoniously dumped" onto the floor and held with a chokehold.
During the commotion, the girl's mother was notified and managed to quickly make it down to the venue to tend to her daughter. Upon arriving, the mother was "held down on the ground at five different points of her body" by police, then restrained to hold her wrists, hands and fingers immobile. After a police officer twice instructed another officer to "get her," an officer fired his Taser at the mother while she was restrained, causing her to urinate, according to the lawsuit.
While the child was held "face down with her arms secured behind her," by multiple police officers, during a seizure, she was tasered three times, the lawsuit states. At this point, the daughter lost consciousness temporarily and was taken to Gadsden Regional Medical Center.
The child's mother was subsequently arrested and charged with disorderly conduct. While at the hospital, the suit alleges that police made jokes about the teen and threatened to have her committed to a mental hospital.
While this story seems unbelievable, it is important to point out that police officers have a history of tasering people during their seizures.
In February of last year, the victim of a hit and run began seizing. When police showed up, they began to taser him, claiming that he was resisting.
In February of this year, a police officer tasered a 78-year-old man as he had a seizure brought on by a diabetic attack.
In December, a man was begging police to let him go because he was having a life-threatening asthma attack. Instead, he was held on the roadside until he died.