(2018-02-14) CONNECTICUT: West Hartford To Offer Settlement In Lawsuit Alleging Excessive Force On Deaf Student [[settlement // excessive force // child tasered // deaf tasered]]

Published on February 14 2018 by admin

Hartford Courant

West Hartford town councilors this week voted on an offer of judgement or a settlement offer of $150,000 to a student at the American School for the Deaf who was tasered twice by West Hartford Police in 2013.

Town councilors this week voted to settle a 5-year-old federal lawsuit that accused two police officers of using excessive force against a 12-year-old deaf student with disabilities at the American School for the Deaf when they shot the boy in the back with a stun gun.

The council authorized the administration to offer to settle the case for up to $150,000. The lawsuit did not ask for a specific amount of money.

According to an amended complaint filed in federal court in April 2015, the American School for the Deaf and the town “negligently, recklessly, intentionally and maliciously” injured the boy, who suffers from Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, in March, April and June 2013. The school was a defendant in the lawsuit, but a judge ruled in its favor.

According to the complaint, a school employee in March 2013 “choked” the 12-year-old student and “forcibly threw him to the ground” leading to “significant head injuries.”

In April 2013, the student was denied requests for food orders and called his parents through a videophone, the complaint says. Five minutes into the call, an ASD staff member “maliciously and without provocation, and due to lack of training,” pulled the wires from the videophone and disconnected the call, making the student upset, it says.

The student attempted to flee and ASD staff chased him into a construction site on campus, where one staff member told the student he was going to kill him and push him into an unsafe area of the construction site, then proceeded to grab the student and punch him in the face with closed fists, according to the complaint. The student grabbed a stick to defend himself, it says.

Police were called, and, according to the complaint, the student was sitting with his back to the officers and no one made an attempt to let the student know the officers were there.

The complaint alleges that the officers fired their stun guns at the boy, and that one prong hit the student in the middle of his back and the other hit his buttocks.

The student was taken to Connecticut Children’s Medical Center in Hartford and sustained scarring on his back where he was hit with the Taser prongs, the complaint says.

The unidentified student transferred to another school, the Maryland School for the Deaf, according to N.Y.-based attorney Andrew Rozynski.

“My client was sitting there, eyes closed on the ground and an officer tased him not only once, but twice,” Rozynski told the Courant Thursday. “We find this to be a very egregious case; $150,000 may sound like a lot of money, he has to live with the trauma of that situation.”

The complaint also alleges that the school tried to retaliate against the student by claiming in June 2013 that he was watching and printing pornography, and by contacted police to say that he was attempting to kill himself by wrapping wires around his neck and stabbing himself with a pen and scissors.

Doctors at a nearby hospital told the student’s father that “there was no physical evidence or other evidence they could find, aside from what ASD staff informed them, that [the student] tried to kill himself or had suicidal thoughts,” according to the amended complaint.

The American School for the Deaf submitted a motion to dismiss the claim, saying the issues the student had were with the police department, not the school. A judge ruled in the school’s favor, according to Glastonbury-based attorney David Hill, who represented the school.

“The judge found that we did nothing wrong and we’re thrilled to finally be vindicated,” Hill said Friday.





Comments are closed.