Deputy uses Taser on Fayetteville high school girl

Mother of student asking if use of force was necessary
October 23, 2013 5:35:47 PM PDT
The mother of a 15-year-old Westover High School student is questioning whether it was necessary to use a Taser on her daughter to break up a fight.

Debra Payne contacted ABC11 after the incident. The Cumberland County Sheriff's Office confirmed a school resource officer used the weapon after warning the 15-year-old. It said the Taser's prongs were not deployed, and just the shock was used a single time.

But the teen's mother says her daughter was shocked three times - which she claims the officer involved confirmed. A photo of the girl's side shows red marks where the Taser was used.

Payne said she doesn't understand how a 95-pound-girl could be a threat to a law enforcement officer.

"We need to have a law out there that no officer, no authority should have to use any type of weapon on a child unless they feel like their life was threatened. In this case, his life was not threatened at all.

Usually, the Sheriff's Office will note if the officer felt threatened, and cite that charge. This is not the case with Payne's daughter. She's only been cited with simple affray.

Payne said she's not defending her daughter's fighting (although, according to her, her daughter was defending herself from a 16-year-old girl.)

ABC11 spoke with Westover High School Principal Dr. Thomas Benson Wednesday. He also told us the deputy only used the Taser once when neither staff members or the resource officer could separate the two fighting students.

"He did not go in with intent of hurting her," said Benson. "It wasn't anything we were doing to try and hurt the little girl. He was doing what he needed to do to keep things settled."

A spokesperson for the Sheriff's Office said the department does have a policy for Taser use which includes the potential imminent danger to the parties involved, a large crowd with the potential to jump in and escalate the situation, and an alternative to lethal force. She said those conditions applied in this situation. She added that all tasing incidents are investigated.

Not counting this incident, there have been seven reports of taser use in Cumberland County schools since Jan 1. In 2012, there were four reports.

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