The FBI is investigating the police department in Independence, Missouri for alleged use of excessive force following an incident that resulted in a 17-year-old boy requiring a medically-induced coma to help treat injuries to his brain, KCTV-TV reported.
17-year-old Bryce Masters is listed in critical condition following his encounter with Officer Tim Runnels on Sunday, during which Runnels used a Taser on the teen. One witness, Curtis Martes, told KCTV that Runnels approached Masters’ vehicle after pulling him over and asked him to roll his window down. However, Martes said, Masters’ window did not work properly, stopping him from following the order.
But police said Masters, whose father is an officer for the Kansas City Police Department, was being “completely uncooperative,” forcing Runnels to defend himself.
“The driver refused to exit the vehicle,” Sgt. Darrell Schmidli was quoted as saying. “A struggle ensued, a Taser was deployed by the officer. The driver was finally removed out of the car. A struggle ensued once he was moved out of the car.”
Another witness, Michelle Baker, said she thought Masters’ head hit the concrete during the altercation. Multiple witnesses stated that Masters had to be brought back to life by emergency crews before being hospitalized.
“The cop put his foot on his back and moved it back and forth like he was putting a cigarette out and asked him, ‘Are you ready to get up now?'” Baker told KCTV. “You could tell the kid was going into convulsions.”
Runnels has been placed on administrative leave.
Independence police were sued in July 2007 after they mistakenly pulled over a woman who was five months pregnant and forced her to lie face down on the side of a highway. At the time, they believed the woman was behing the theft of vehicles from a local JC Penney parking lot. KCTV reported that a local judge dismissed the suit, saying the officers had “sovereign immunity.”
Watch KCTV’s report on Masters’ injuries, as aired on Monday, below.