For at least the second time in three weeks, police officers have shocked an unruly 10-year-old child, and, once again, the child's adult guardians are supporting the move.
Sheriff's deputies in Pueblo, Colorado, Tasered a 10-year-old boy after arriving at the child's home Monday evening, after the boy had threatened them with a stick and a length of pipe. As of Thursday evening, the boy remained in a youth jail, according to KCNC channel 4 in Denver.
The deputies involved described the boy as an "out-of-control juvenile."
The Colorado incident follows a similar case last month, when a 10-year-old girl in Ozark, Arkansas, was Tasered after kicking an approaching officer in the groin. In that case, the girl's mother had suggested to the officer that he use a Taser.
While the foster father of the Colorado boy didn't recommend using the Taser, he did support the officers' decision.
"A two-foot piece of pipe can do a lot of damage, I don't care who's swinging it," Daniel Bilby told KCNC. Bilby said the police could have done more harm to his foster son -- whose name is being withheld because of his age -- if they had tried to tackle him.
Capt. Jeff Teschner of the Pueblo County Sheriff's Department told the Pueblo Chieftain that the officers were justified in their use of force.
"They followed all policies and procedures. This was appropriate use of the Taser device," Teschner said.
The Chieftain reports:
Deputies Mark Myers and Randy Mondragon were sent to foster parent Daniel Biby's home to help with an "out of control juvenile" who was reportedly destroying property. Mondragon said the boy had threatened Biby with a pipe and a stick, and had thrown a landscape timber at Biby.
Mondragon said that when deputies arrived, the boy ran away from them holding a 2-foot-long pipe.
"This lad, we have a long history of (him) running away. I don't know what his entire psychological profile is, but obviously he has emotional distress," Teschner said.
The recent incidents of Taser use on children will likely spur debate on the ethical and safety issues involved in using conducted energy weapons on youths.
The weapon's manufacturer, Taser International, says the weapon is safe to use on any person weighing 60 lbs. or more. But some past incidents of Taser use on children have led observers to question whether there should be more severe restrictions on Taser use for children than there are for adults.
In one 2004 incident, a six-year-old boy was Tasered by police at a Miami school after he had broken a picture and threatened to cut himself with the glass. The boy's mother argued that the three police officers involved could not have been legitimately in danger from such a small child.