Having a Speech Impediment Could Get You Tasered in Ohio Town

Though proven to be an effective and totally safe way to subdue "disrespectful" youths, Tasering might not always be appropriate—for example, when the youth in question is disabled and maybe not trying to be disrespectful at all. Just a thought!

In Dayton, Ohio, a woman has filed suit against the city and several officers who allegedly Tasered plus pepper-sprayed and beat up her son, 17-year-old Jesse Kersey, for supposedly disrespecting them back in June 2010. According to the suit, Kersey was riding his bike when Officer Willie Hooper pulled him over to talk to him. Hooper allegedly knew that Kersey was disabled, but that didn't stop him from turning their exchange into a full-out fracas:

Defendant Hooper began yelling at Jesse and after Jesse attempted to communicate with him, Jesse, being a minor and mentally challenged/handicapped, turned and rode his bicycle back to his home in an attempt to ask his mother, Ford, to help him communicate with Defendant Hooper.

A neighbor attempted to communicate with Officer Hooper about Jesse's disabilities and was told to go back into his home, or he would be arrested.

Jesse approached his front door, in an effort to retrieve Ford for assistance, and Defendant Hooper proceeded to chase him.

Another officer showed up to join Hooper in the alleged Tasering fun, and also pepper-sprayed Kersey. Then 20 other officers showed up, which would have probably been excessive even if Kersey hadn't been disabled. Kersey was charged with assaulting a peace officer, resisting arrest, and obstructing official business, but the local juvenile court dismissed all of the above after declaring him incompetent. His law suit charges the officers with assault, battery, false arrest, and a number of other no-no's.

FWIW, a search of Dayton-area news outlets turned up no background coverage of Kersey's case, which could mean any number of things. But if he wins his suit, maybe he and his mom can move to San Francisco, which has explored limiting the use of Tasers on kids riding bikes and so far hasn't turned into a post-apocalyptic terror world controlled by authority-defying, back-talking teen overlords. Or anything like that.

[Courthouse News Service. Image by Stephen Coburn via Shutterstock.]