Kansas City, MO – After sentencing a former Independence police officer to four years in prison for violating the constitutional rights of a minor, a federal judge released the dash cam video revealing the overzealous cop tazing the teen for no reason and brutally slamming his head onto the street. Although the innocent teen went into cardiac arrest, which resulted in oxygen deprivation and brain damage, the aggressive officer can be seen in the video repeatedly using excessive force on the boy’s unresponsive body. Now, four years after this savage act was recorded on video, the victim has been awarded over $6 million in damages.
On Friday, a federal jury awarded Bryce Masters, then 17 years old, more than $6 million in damages for the egregious and despicable act caught on video. During the trial witnesses, recalled that Masters went into cardiac arrest as a result of the assault and nearly died.
"Today the jury sent a clear message to law enforcement that excessive force will not be tolerated," said Masters' attorney Kirk Presley. "This verdict upholds the constitutional provisions that protect us all from the abuse of power. As a result of this verdict, the Masters family can now truly begin to heal.”
On the afternoon of September 14, 2014, Officer Timothy Runnels pulled over the 17-year-because his license plate matched a plate wanted for a traffic warrant. According to the police, Masters refused to cooperate with Officer Reynolds and resisted arrest.
But according to the police dash cam video, Runnels blatantly escalated a nonviolent situation while violating a boy's constitutional rights. In his own dash cam video, Runnels can be seen exiting his patrol car during a routine traffic stop before approaching Masters’ passenger-side door. After Runnels orders the teen to roll the window all the way down, Masters responded, “I can’t. The window’s broken.”
“I can’t hear you,” Runnels informed him. “You’ve got to roll it all the way down.”
“You can’t hear me?” Masters asked.
“Roll it all the way down,” Runnels repeated.
“I can hear you,” Masters calmly explained.
“Roll it all the way down,” Runnels incessantly continued.
“For what?” Masters asked.
Obviously loosing his temper, Runnels approached the teen’s door as Masters rolled down his back window.
“My window doesn’t roll down,” Masters told the officer.
Instead of actually listening to Masters, Runnels suddenly opened his door while asking, “Does this one open?”
“Yeah,” Masters answered. ��What are you doing?”
“Get out,” Runnels ordered. “Now.”
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“For what?” Masters questioned.
“Out!” Runnels repeated while attempting to pull the kid out of the car. “Do you really want to get tazed right here in the middle of your car?”
“For what?” Masters genuinely wanted to know.
“Get your ass out now!” Runnels mindlessly repeated.
“I haven’t done anything, officer,” Masters asserted while remaining in his car. “Am I under arrest?”
“Yes, you’re under arrest,” Runnels finally told him.
“For what?” Masters asked.
“Alright, fine. Fuck it. Just get out,” Runnels lost his cool while deploying his Taser against a fellow officer’s teenage son.
Excessively tazing Masters in the chest for 20 seconds, four times longer than officers are trained to deploy a Taser, Runnels caused the teen to go into a near-fatal cardiac arrhythmia and technically die on the street. Despite the fact that Masters’ body was unresponsive and his breathing was extremely labored, Runnels continued to viciously manhandle the boy by lifting his arms back in a torture position after handcuffing him.
“Told ya!” Runnels boasted over the teen’s dying body.
Dragging Masters’ motionless body across the street, Runnels sadistically slammed the teen face-first onto the pavement for no valid reason. Although Masters clearly required medical assistance as his breathing became heavier and more erratic, Runnels never bothered to check on the boy after rifling through his pockets and calling for an ambulance.
Masters had gone into full cardiac arrest when emergency responders arrived and resuscitated him. Due to severe oxygen deprivation to his brain, Masters was transported to a local hospital and placed in a chemically-induced coma. Bryce’s brother, Colin, told reporters that his brother might have stopped breathing for over five minutes.
According to reports, the license plate on Masters’ car was linked to a warrant belonging to a female who was not present at the scene.
On March 27, 2015, a federal grand jury indicted Runnels for deploying a Taser against a minor restrained on the ground and deliberately slamming Masters headfirst onto the street while the teen was handcuffed and not posing a threat to Runnels or others. Runnels was also charged with two counts of obstruction of justice for filing a false police report concerning the incident and for making a false statement to Independence Police Department investigators.
With difficulty focusing and recalling memories, Masters recently testified that he suffers from possible permanent brain damage due to the brutal incident. After pleading guilty to violating the constitutional rights of a minor in his custody and causing him injury, Runnels was sentenced in 2016 to four years in prison with two years of supervised release.