It was supposed to be an uneventful transport to a medical facility for an assessment. The victim’s mother never dreamed of what would happen next to her 17-year-old son…
Austin, TXA first responder misconduct lawsuit alleging police abuse was filed last month against the City of Austin, Texas. The plaintiff, the mother of a teenaged boy, alleges an officer with the Austin Police Department used excessive force on her son and is seeking $1 million in punitive damages.
According to CBS Austin (01/25/18) the first responder lawsuit claims that plaintiff Latasha Alexander telephoned the Austin Police Department on September 23 of last year seeking help for her son, as she was concerned about his well-being. The following day, on September 24 an officer arrived at the apartment complex where the plaintiff lived with her son, in order to transport the plaintiff’s son to a facility where he could receive an evaluation concerning his mental health.
The 17-year-old victim was Tasered, allegedly without provocation
NBC KXAN (01/25/18) notes in a separate report that a recent divorce had negatively impacted the boy. The television station noted that there was minimal interaction between the officer and the victim – about 5 to 10 seconds, according to the plaintiff’s police abuse attorney – before the victim exited the apartment. The victim’s mother began filming the victim and the officer in the hallway outside of the apartment, just before the attending officer used a Taser on the lad.
The teen’s horrified mother recorded about 41 seconds of video of the alleged police abuse on her cell phone.
“Lay down. Lay down. Stay down. Stay down and do not move,” APD officer Joel Kuchenski is shown to be saying on the video recorded by plaintiff Latasha Alexander.
“I told you man, if you do what I said we wouldn’t have any issues,” Officer Kuchenski continued, on the cell phone recording.
The video was screened for the media at a press conference hosted by the police injury attorney hired by the plaintiff, last month. The attorney noted that claims of unjustified and excessive force are appropriate given evidence in the video that Alexander’s son did not pose a threat, and had his hands down, and by his side when the officer used his Taser on the boy.
A lawsuit claims excessive force was not necessary
As for what led up to the Taser incident questions remain, according to the media report. The officer in question was not wearing a body camera at the time. The cell phone video, taken by the victim’s mother, did not record the goings-on and the interaction between the officer and the victim before the Taser was deployed.
When contacted by CBS Austin, the Austin Police Department noted there had been no other complaints with regard to excessive force associated with the officer since 2012, the year that Kuchenski joined the force.
NBC KXAN reached out to the Austin Police Association. Ken Casaday, a spokesperson, suggested that “there was a time period before the tasing that was not on video that the department has on audio, and it would be inappropriate for me to comment on that until I can see the whole picture.”
The Office of the District Attorney told NBC KXAN that as of January 25 there had not been an investigation opened with regard to Kuchenski’s actions.
The City of Austin issued a short statement: “We learned of the lawsuit through a media release,” the statement said. “Once we have been served we will review it and take appropriate action to defend the City.”
The first responder lawsuit is A. et al v. City of Austin et al, Case No. 1:18-cv-00067, filed January 25th in US District Court for the Western District of Texas.
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