An Alabama woman has filed a lawsuit against local police alleging a stun gun was used on her epileptic daughter three times while the teen was suffering from seizures at a concert in Rainbow City. Police also tased the girl’s mother, she alleges.
The 32-page lawsuit, filed earlier this month in US District
Court, accuses at least five Rainbow City officers and three
officers from neighboring Gadsden, who were allegedly handling
security for a January 16 hip-hop concert, of excessive force,
torture “and other cruel, inhuman and degrading
treatment,” Alabama Media Group reported.
The woman and her 16-year-old daughter, whose identity has not be
disclosed, seek damages for pain, emotional distress, medical
expenses, punitive damages and attorney’s fees, the media group
According to Gregory Harp, attorney for the plaintiffs, a
“Taser was used three times on a child’s chest, during a
medical emergency, while she was pinned to the ground by
Other officers present at the scene failed to intervene. Her
mother was knocked to the ground, handcuffed, and then she
herself tased and arrested.”
According to the lawsuit, the incident occurred at Center Stage
during a gig by rapper Kevin Gates. Earlier that day, on January
16, the teenage girl had already suffered a grand mal seizure at
her high school where she was treated by paramedics, but not
taken to a hospital. The suit states, according to Alabama Media
Group, that the girl suffers from a medical condition which
involves grand mal seizures, causing her to lose consciousness,
experience muscle contractions and “sometimes exhibit loud
vocalizations caused by the forceful exhalation of air from her
Later that night, when she went to the concert, there was a
stampede at one particular point. The suit alleges the incident
happened when the artist left the stage to go into the crowd
during the show. As a result, the teenager was knocked down and
began to have another seizure. The girl’s younger sister
reportedly informed Center Stage employees that she was suffering
According to the lawsuit, she was carried into the lobby of the
venue, where she was “unceremoniously dumped” on to the
floor. By the time she suffered another convulsion, her mother
had arrived, dressed in a T-shirt and pajamas. She said she
wanted to help her daughter, but was restrained by police.
According to court documents, the woman was “held down on the
ground at five different points of her body” by police.
The Daily Beast reports that one 6-foot (183cm) tall, 200lb
(91kg) Rainbow City officer allegedly pushed the woman to her
knees and held her hands behind her back. The lawsuit reportedly
says that the officer told another cop, “Get her.” After
a moment of hesitation, the officer repeated, “Do it,” and,
according to court papers, the other cop used the stun gun on the
woman. The Taser shock caused the woman “to urinate a copious
amount of urine onto herself and the floor of the facility,”
the complaint cited in media reports, says.
When the daughter “attempted to raise her head,” police
officers and a venue employee restrained her, according to the
court papers. The lawsuit says that an officer hit her with the
stun gun three times at one point. The suit says, the teenager
suffered yet another seizure “and was rendered
unconscious.” She awoke in an ambulance en route to a local
hospital, according to the suit. At the hospital police allegedly
made jokes about the girl, threatening to have her “committed
to a mental hospital.”
Her mother was meanwhile arrested for disorderly conduct and
rushed to the county jail, the suit claims.
“The actions of the …defendants …were unjustified,
unprovoked, and objectively unreasonable and constitute a
violation of their rights under the Fourth Amendment and/or the
Fourteenth Amendment to be free from the use of excessive
force,” the suit states, reports Alabama Media Group.
Rainbow City attorney Jim Turnbach was quoted as saying that the
municipality “will vigorously defend the suit,” however.
“I don’t make it a policy to try suits in the newspaper, as
tempting as it might be,” he said in an email to the Daily
“The allegations are simply allegations and the facts in the case
will dictate the outcome,” he added.
The woman and her attorney also accuse Center Stage of failing to
provide necessary crowd control at the concert. Last year a man
with an assault rifle in a parking lot shut down a concert before
Kevin Gates took the stage, sparking what police called a
“near riot.” Luckily, no shots were fired and no one was