February 8, 2008

Superior officials defended a police officer’s use of a stun gun on a high school student as reasonable and necessary to get control of a violent situation.

“I’m not uncomfortable with it,” school superintendent Jay Mitchell said. “In this particular case, the young man involved was out of control.”

Superior police have used electronic stun guns for the past couple of years, but last week was the first time one was used in a school.

An officer used it to subdue a 15-year-old boy at Superior High School. The student was 6 feet tall and weighed more than 300 pounds, according to police reports. He was not injured.

Assistant Police Chief Chuck LaGesse called the Taser’s use a reasonable response to a violent situation.

The student swore at staff members and refused to follow directions, the police report said. When a school liaison officer was called to issue a citation, the student swung at and kicked him. He also tried to bite two school officials.

Superior police are allowed to use stun guns to control dangerous or violent people when other tactics have been ineffective or an officer believes other options would be unsafe or unsuccessful.

“Our policy reflects realities of the use of force policy,” LaGesse said. “Our guidelines take into consideration, ‘What do you need to do to establish control?’ Age is really secondary.”

The teen was arrested on charges of battery to a law enforcement officer, attempted battery to school officials, resisting an officer and disorderly conduct. Official charges are filed by the district attorney’s office.

The teen’s parents declined to comment.

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