A Pennsylvania police officer was captured in a shocking video using his Taser on a surrendering 14-year old girl’s pelvic region–and a federal judge has left his fate up to a jury.
The footage, captured September 29, 2011, shows the arrest of African-American teen Keshana Wilson by Officer Jason Ammary during dismissal from school. A lawsuit filed in December 2011 claims Ammary “intentionally” shot Wilson in her private area to “inflict the maximum amount of pain.”
The lawsuit claims that Ammary grabbed Wilson from behind and turned her around without identifying himself as a police officer. Wilson raised her arms–which is recognized in most places as a motion of surrender–when Ammary aimed the stun gun at her pelvic area and unleashed electricity into her reproductive parts. She fell on the ground and rolled over, which drove the barbs deeper into her body, the lawsuit states.
U.S. District Judge Lawrence Stengel said surveillance footage that showed the attack did not tell the entire story, but felt that a jury trial would be the best answer. “Because the video only captures part of the incident, it does not resolve one way or the other facts being disputed regarding the excessive force claim,” Stengel wrote.
Ammary claims that he was improperly trained; his only training was to shadow another school resource officer. He also said that he routinely stopped “some” students at dismissal to run background checks and checks for outstanding warrants–something the judge said “suggests a history of possible mishandling of students at dismissal which could amount to constitutional violations of students’ rights.”
Ammary claims that the teen punched him several times in the face–a charge she denies. She says that, if Wilson was hit, it was unintentional, and that she only pushed his arm off of her because she could not breathe.
“From these facts, a jury could find that it was foreseeable that a student could be injured during an arrest by a [school resource officer] who was inadequately trained in controlling crowds of teenagers and that the training that was offered to [school resource officers] was inadequate in these respects,” Stengel said, adding, “There is also a genuine dispute of material fact as to whether Officer Ammary was advised not to target sensitive areas, specifically the groin and back.”
Wilson was charged with aggravated assault on an officer, simple assault, resisting arrest, riot, and failure to disperse. In juvenile court, she was found delinquent on the charges of failure to disperse and resisting arrest.
A year after Wilson’s lawsuit was filed, Stengel threw out claims that Ammary wrongly arrested the teen, and that he filed unfounded charges to cover his abusive use of the Taser–but he also disputed Wilson’s claim that he was immune to the lawsuit under a legal doctrine that protects government officials from liability for mistakes.
Watch the video below, and ponder what sort of person would need better training to know not to electrify someone’s crotch: