Family claims baby injured in Taser incident
Collinsville Herald | March 29, 2005
By Rebecca B. Gedda
Collinsville Police Chief Friend Walker said Friday that despite allegations being made, it is "outrageous" to believe that any Collinsville police officer injured a baby in an arrest Wednesday.
According to Walker, the family of Donyea Montgomery, a 31-year-old man who was arrested for public consumption of alcohol, resisting a peace officer, and later had felony charges added, is claiming officers injured a 10-month-old baby during his arrest.
"I'm hearing about all of this third-hand," said the police chief Friday morning after having been contacted by several area print and television news sources. "But the people (Montgomery) is staying with are saying that when we arrested him, we used a Taser that injured a baby. That's simply outrageous."
Walker said that at about 4:40 on Wednesday afternoon, the CPD received a call that someone had been seen peering into vehicles in the 900 block of West Main.
"The caller said that the male looking into the cars was wearing a hooded sweatshirt, and that had us all concerned," he said. "We've had two burglaries where the suspects wore hooded sweatshirts."
Officers were dispatched to the area, and while on the way, they saw a male standing on the street near Wood Alley and Hesperia wearing a hooded sweatshirt and drinking a beer, Walker said.
"They thought that it could be the same guy they were looking for – that he had walked down from the area on West Main - but if he wasn't, the issue of consumption of alcohol in a public place should be addressed," he said. "The suspect fled the area, and ended up at a home at 219 N. Hesperia, where officers found him on the porch drinking a beer."
Walker said officers attempted to make contact with the suspect, but he became "belligerent and combative" and fled into the house.
"The officers knocked on the door, and when no one answered, they kicked it in," he said. "They didn't know if he'd fled inside to get a gun or what was going on."
Walker said that as officers were trying to arrest Montgomery and get him into the police car, be became violent and combative again.
"They used the Taser on him once," he said. "He began cooperating, but then began fighting again."
The prongs of the Taser were only fired once – they remained in the suspect's arm. He was Tased, or hit with a "stun gun," twice afterward.
Once at the station, it was discovered that Montgomery was a suspect in a CPD burglary from an auto case, and that he'd had three convictions – two in Alabama, and the third from the CPD for theft.
Everything went by the book, Walker said, until he started receiving calls that the suspect's friends were accusing the CPD of harassment.
"Apparently, one of the women in the house is the mother of (Montgomery's) baby," he said. "She's made claims that officers almost hit the baby with the Taser, that the suspect fell on the baby after we Tased him, and that she and the baby were so close to the suspect when he was Tased that they were also shocked.
"It didn't happen."
Walker said that at no time during the incident was anyone closer than 12 feet from the suspect, and that even if a suspect were holding someone when hit with a Taser, the shock would only hurt the person the weapon's prongs made contact with.
"That baby was never in any danger," Walker said. "And if the family is saying now that he has burns or scratches, it's my opinion that the danger comes from living with a convicted felon; it didn't come from us."
Walker said he has reported the case to both the Department of Children and Family Services and the Illinois State Police for further investigation.
As of Friday morning, Montgomery was being held at the Madison County Jail.
Official information about charges and bail amount were not available because the State's Attorney's Office was closed Friday because of the Good Friday holiday.