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2 Officers Could Be Fired Over Taser Use

The Kansas City Channel | July 14 2005

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Two police officers could lose their jobs because of the way they used a Taser during an arrest last summer.

A videotape from an in-car police camera showed a suspect -- who was in handcuffs -- being Tased for the fifth time during an arrest in August 2004.

Police commissioners heard from both sides in Wednesday's hearing.

Kansas City Police Chief James Corwin called it excessive force and recommended that the men be fired, which is the first time that's happened since Kansas City police started using Tasers last year.

"I was convinced we'd just punished a prisoner in our custody," said Corwin.

The officers said they were using the Taser as instructed against a combative man.

KMBC's Bev Chapman reported that it appears the first Tasing followed procedure. Officers David Easley and Matthew Howell used a Taser to stop a man they believe is a car thief who is resisting arrest.

"When we were down in the street, he started kicking at my face and trying to get away," Howell said. "The whole beauty of a Taser is it's hands off -- nobody gets hurt, nobody gets sued."

Police commissioners will decide whether the two officers went too far.

The hearing will also determine whether Officer David Easley will be fired. While he didn't handle the Taser, he is accused of instructing Howell to use it against the suspect.

The police board has not said when the decision will be made.

Meanwhile, charges are pending against the suspect, Matthew Butts.

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