For the second time this month, police officers are being sued for tasering a deaf man. The latest incident comes out of the suburbs of St. Louis, Missouri, where officers tasered a man having a diabetic attack.
On February 21, 2012 deaf man Robert Kim pulled off the road with a flat tire. In addition to being deaf, Kim suffers from type one diabetes. While waiting for roadside assistance to arrive, he fell into a hypoglycemic state. Officer Leah Hall was the first officer to arrive at the scene.
Kim claims Hall became immediately aware he was deaf. He said he also told Officer Hall multiple times he was in diabetic shock. Instead of calling an ambulance to help, Hall called for police backup. Officer Brandin Raney arrived shortly after.
Kim was sitting in a grassy area when Raney arrived. Raney claims Officer Hall never told him that Kim was deaf or in diabetic shock. Kim claims Raney quickly became angry at him. Here’s what he did next.
"Unable to effectively communicate with plaintiff, defendant Raney fired his Taser at plaintiff, striking plaintiff in the chest," the complaint states. "Plaintiff immediately fell to the ground. Defendant Raney continued to apply repeated electrical shocks through the Taser, even after plaintiff was on the ground.”
The complaint says Raney struck Kim as well.
"Defendant Raney also struck plaintiff repeatedly while plaintiff was on the ground and handcuffed plaintiff while plaintiff was on the ground. Upon information and belief, plaintiff was Tasered by defendant Raney at least three times, one of which was while plaintiff was handcuffed,” the complaint says.
Kim’s lawsuit is filed against Officer Leah Hall, Officer Brandin Raney, and the city of Bridgeton. He seeks actual and punitive damages for violations of his civil rights, the Americans with Disabilities Act, battery, and infliction of emotional distress.
"Defendant Bridgeton is mandated to provide aid and services to those individuals with disabilities such as plaintiff," the complaint states. "Plaintiff was discriminated against by not being provided with medical services, but instead was subjected to an unlawful battery and detainment as a result of the failure of defendants."
Earlier this month, California resident Jonathan Meister filed a similar lawsuit after he was tasered and beat unconscious by police. Meister claims police took violent action against him after interpreting his sign language attempts as resistance.