Patterico's Pontifications

10/5/2009

Tasered Granny Takes $40K Settlement

Filed under: Crime,Government — DRJ @ 6:57 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Kathryn Winkfein, the 72-year-old Texas grandmother who was tasered by a Texas constable, has accepted the $40,000 settlement offered by the Travis County commissioners. Her resisting arrest charge is still pending but I suspect it will be dismissed.

Some of the taxpaying commenters at the second link seem unhappy with this result. But one commenter, Derek, said he would “gladly get tazed for far less than 40k….”

– DRJ

57 Comments

  1. Don’t taze me, bro!

    Comment by lee (86706b) — 10/5/2009 @ 7:25 pm

  2. Why did the constable taser his granny?

    Comment by j curtis (baef6f) — 10/5/2009 @ 7:38 pm

  3. I would gladly get tazed for considerably less than 40K.

    Comment by JD (b78ff7) — 10/5/2009 @ 7:47 pm

  4. Shouldn’t there be another charge there somewhere? They had to be arresting her for something before she started resisting.

    Comment by Huey (b957d9) — 10/5/2009 @ 7:56 pm

  5. She got a traffic ticket, I think for speeding in a construction zone. You wouldn’t be arrested for that, but the problem started when she refused to sign for the ticket and wouldn’t move out of the roadway as the constable requested.

    Comment by DRJ (b008f8) — 10/5/2009 @ 8:04 pm

  6. This is just my guess but I think this is an urban vs rural issue. The area where this happened is suburban and rural, while the Travis County commissioners come from the greater Austin metropolitan area. I view this as a nuisance settlement by the commissioners and that probably doesn’t sit well with the suburban/rural folks.

    Comment by DRJ (b008f8) — 10/5/2009 @ 8:07 pm

  7. Ok,so seriously.You guys may laugh at Radley ,but…
    People have about had it with the South Park “Do not question my authority” attitude.Over half of the comments were in the granny’s favor and tired of LEO’s abusing their positions.Travis county wasn’t willing to take it to court,probably because they were going to lose…
    Sorry the attitude that a cop faces danger from “everyone” he comes into contact with just doesn’t cut anymore. They probably stand a bigger chance of being struck by lightening than being shot at.
    More & more people are becoming the target for abuse by Law Enforcement. More & more people are being harmed by LE making up laws.
    Do you not think that the worm is gonna turn? Law Enforcement had better take a good long look at themselves & make sure they are there to Protect & Serve,rather than taking advantage of their position to bully folks.

    Comment by flicka47 (3e174b) — 10/5/2009 @ 8:13 pm

  8. How many asspulls and caricatures can you count in the comment by flicka?

    Comment by JD (b78ff7) — 10/5/2009 @ 8:28 pm

  9. flicka47:

    Sorry the attitude that a cop faces danger from “everyone” he comes into contact with just doesn’t cut anymore. They probably stand a bigger chance of being struck by lightening than being shot at.

    Traffic stops can be dangerous. For example, take Austin Police Officer William DeWayne Jones, Sr., who was shot while conducting a routine traffic stop. And Alabama Deputy James Anderson who was intentionally run over during a traffic stop. Or New Mexico Deputy Dominique Smith who was run over while conducting a traffic stop.

    Comment by DRJ (b008f8) — 10/5/2009 @ 8:33 pm

  10. DRJ kind of alludes to a problem in Texas right now, especially in urban counties.

    I won’t go into boring details, but the role of County Constables needs to be addressed. Otherwise, we’ll continue to be embarrassed, as Texans, by these kind of incidents.

    Comment by Ag80 (fb11c7) — 10/5/2009 @ 8:39 pm

  11. But one commenter, Derek, said he would “gladly get tazed for far less than 40k….”

    Under safe circumstances, I would agree to be tased for less than $1,000. Heck, I’d do it for free . . . the first time.

    But if they’re going to tase me while violating my civil rights, $40k sounds about right.

    Comment by Daryl Herbert (21d3d0) — 10/5/2009 @ 8:42 pm

  12. Harry Sherbet, the woman was refusing a lawful order and being disorderly in the process. Those two things are not part of your civil rights. The term “civil disobedience” refers to going beyond your civil rights for a purpose. What was her purpose for civil disobedience and disorderly conduct?

    Comment by John Hitchcock (3fd153) — 10/5/2009 @ 8:47 pm

  13. But, yeah, I’d get tazed for 30k. And a guy I used to work with, who quit his job to become an Ohio State Trooper, had to get tazed during his training. It was mandatory. So he did it for a job.

    Comment by John Hitchcock (3fd153) — 10/5/2009 @ 9:09 pm

  14. I wonder how tazer armor would sell. Need something that is both an excellent insulator and penetration resistant. A material that people could actually stand to wear would be a major bonus.

    Comment by Soronel Haetir (2b4c2b) — 10/5/2009 @ 9:36 pm

  15. Soronel, you lookin ta be a thug dealer?

    Comment by John Hitchcock (3fd153) — 10/5/2009 @ 9:41 pm

  16. Just a point of clarity here. I don’t like tasers. Either the pistol or the nightstick. And forget about bouncy bullets, too. But that’s just me.

    Comment by John Hitchcock (3fd153) — 10/5/2009 @ 9:44 pm

  17. Well, You guys didn’t disappoint.
    JD,you jump right in there & accuse,but do not show where I was wrong…You want to laugh at Radly,or attempted to smear what I have to say,but use empty rhetoric.
    Every profession has it’s risks,DRJ. But my point was that it is most likely statistically as likely that a cop will get hit by lightening as to get shot by a citizen.Unfortunately,by your logic every 7-11 clerk out there should be armed to the teeth.
    Where’s you proof that every cop faces “immiment” danger from everyone out there? The attitude from LE is such that the general population is starting to doubt their ability to do their job without bullying,or making up law & trying to justify it later.
    I’m sure that you want LE to do their job well,I should think every normal person would. But, please explain why their attitude shouldn’t cause the backlash that is starting to be heard from many “normal” citizens.

    Comment by flicka47 (3e174b) — 10/5/2009 @ 9:54 pm

  18. Lemme just say, for the record, that flicka chose her name because she isn’t, at least on the inside.

    Comment by John Hitchcock (3fd153) — 10/5/2009 @ 10:01 pm

  19. John Hitchcock ,
    OK I will give you that she stupidly did not want to sign the ticket. What justification do you have for the officer pushing her,as she was standing behind her car & not in the road when that happened?
    If Travis County paid her off,they must have felt they would lose. Why not stand by their officer if they felt he was in the right. Or did they?

    Comment by flicka47 (3e174b) — 10/5/2009 @ 10:01 pm

  20. Ah,flicka is a horse,as in “My Friend”….

    Comment by flicka47 (3e174b) — 10/5/2009 @ 10:02 pm

  21. More asspulls and arguing with caricatures …

    Comment by JD (6cce87) — 10/5/2009 @ 10:05 pm

  22. flicka47:

    Every profession has it’s risks,DRJ.

    Some have more than others, like being a law enforcement officer.

    But my point was that it is most likely statistically as likely that a cop will get hit by lightening as to get shot by a citizen.

    And you know this how?

    Unfortunately,by your logic every 7-11 clerk out there should be armed to the teeth.

    That’s not a bad idea.

    Where’s you proof that every cop faces “immiment” danger from everyone out there?

    I didn’t say that every person is dangerous but every stop has the potential to be dangerous.

    The attitude from LE is such that the general population is starting to doubt their ability to do their job without bullying,or making up law & trying to justify it later.

    You should have a beer with President Obama and Henry Louis Gates.

    I’m sure that you want LE to do their job well,I should think every normal person would. But, please explain why their attitude shouldn’t cause the backlash that is starting to be heard from many “normal” citizens.

    Most law enforcement officers do a good job protecting citizens. That’s why it’s news when there are exceptions.

    Comment by DRJ (b008f8) — 10/5/2009 @ 10:20 pm

  23. I hate to say it, but these days a government $40,000 doesn’t even faze anymore.

    Comment by John S (783c76) — 10/5/2009 @ 10:45 pm

  24. DRJ Lightening deaths vs LEO deaths

    Lightening strikes http://tinyurl.com/yb6oxa
    Odds of being struck in 2008 based on US pop 1/400,000 (of course if you work outdoors,your odds just doubled,as the 400,000 would include the entire population,a large portion of which are in no danger of getting struck by lightening this years for a varity of reasons)

    LEO deaths http://tinyurl.com/ycpj65c
    (Using 2009 figures,as they are higher than 2008) Over 50% of deaths were traffic related(i.e. crashed a car,or struck by on-coming traffic)
    Number of Leo in US http://tinyurl.com/yd59kze
    (Sorry most current year I could find was 2004)So you have 101 Leo deaths(2008) over 800,000 Leos(2004 figure)The statistical chance is 50.1 over 400,000 for all deaths. If you take out the 50% that are traffic related,due to common sense that most stupid drivers were not out to “get” the cop…that leaves 50.1 over 800,000 or 1.02/16,000.
    If,And I admit is is not “fair” to use the total population figure as the lightening info did(which includes folks that will never be struck by lightening) You have the total number of deaths from lightening is 70 for 2008 as opposed to 101 for LEO. But in both instances,every year is a different figure If I had used the average for LEO killed in line of duty it would have been 76 for last 10 years,half of which are killed by a traffic accident of some kind.So it looks like the “total” numbers are identical,now cut the Leo # in half to arrive at # deliberately shot & killed
    Sorry the number of deaths do not warrant the degree of mis-use of their position. And if they do ,why aren’t they at war with lightening the way they are with the general public?

    Comment by flicka47 (3e174b) — 10/5/2009 @ 11:27 pm

  25. Oh,DRJ,
    Horses don’t drink beer with liars of any stripe.

    Comment by flicka47 (3e174b) — 10/5/2009 @ 11:30 pm

  26. Seems flicka means girl, gal, lass. But, from the movie, it means “pretty girl.” Doesn’t mean hoss. Try again.

    Comment by John Hitchcock (3fd153) — 10/5/2009 @ 11:33 pm

  27. Your initial hypothetical said it is “as likely that a cop will get hit by lightening as to get shot by a citizen.”

    But your own link shows 400 actual deaths and injuries from lightening per 300,000,000 (1/700,000) and 600 estimated deaths and injuries from lightening (the link says this is 1/400,000 but I think it’s more like 1/500,000).

    Meanwhile, your links show there are 836,000 LEOs in the US and in the first 6 months of 2009 alone, 22 were shot and killed. On a percentage basis, that’s more than were killed or hit by lightening, and it doesn’t even begin to address the number of LEOs that were shot but survived.

    Comment by DRJ (b008f8) — 10/5/2009 @ 11:41 pm

  28. I refuse to use tinyurl; it hides the location of the link until traveled to. I prefer to hover over a link to see if it is a worthwhile site for me to travel to. tinyurl, sry bout yer luck, I’m nae goin’

    Comment by John Hitchcock (3fd153) — 10/5/2009 @ 11:44 pm

  29. Flicka47′s first link is to the National Weather Service, the second link is to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund website, and the third link is to the Department of Justice.

    Comment by DRJ (b008f8) — 10/5/2009 @ 11:48 pm

  30. Thanks DRJ,
    flicka is my horse,named for the book & movie. I have used that moniker everywhere for almost 20 years now. And thanks for explaining my tiny urls. I use those so as to shorten amount of space used for links. But I can understand not wanting to use unknowns.
    You still have to cut the number in half to get to those deliberately killed,as opposed to traffic deaths.
    My point is that the numbers of LEO deaths do not warrant the attitude of LEO members. Most normal folks want to help Law Enforcement. But their attitude is off-putting at best & unconstitutional,or worse in a lot of cases.
    Or maybe they should seek a different line of work,if their attitude is like the Travis County constable.

    Comment by flicka47 (3e174b) — 10/6/2009 @ 12:28 am

  31. Can anyone explain why the cop in question has not been charged with assault? This is no different than beating an uncooperative but easily subdued person with a nightstick over the head a couple of times.

    Comment by Newtons.Bit (ba2dac) — 10/6/2009 @ 6:26 am

  32. Comment by Newtons.Bit — 10/6/2009 @ 6:26 am

    Because if prosecutors start going after cops on the little stuff the entire prison-industrial complex will break down. It takes cases like the beating in Spokane for prosecutors to cross that line.

    Comment by Soronel Haetir (2b4c2b) — 10/6/2009 @ 6:36 am

  33. Flicka – Late to this thread. A couple of points though. If your car is parked on the side of the highway then standing behind it is the worst place you can be. If your standing in the road and are struck you have a better chance than if you are standing between your vehicle and a vehicle that hits it.

    And yes 7-11 clerks should be armed to the teeth.

    Comment by Have Blue (854a6e) — 10/6/2009 @ 8:46 am

  34. Flicka- Several points,
    I have been shot at twice but never struck by lightning.

    Refusing to sign a ticket requires me to arrest you. It is NOT your right. No, I probably wouldn’t choose to taser an old lady because I can physically overcome her resistance to accomplish the handcuffing.

    Jury verdicts have no basis in common sense. They give money, sometimes lots of it, to people they feel sorry for. Old ladies are very sympathetic…

    Comment by Bart998 (e9a2e5) — 10/6/2009 @ 9:17 am

  35. Okay so DRJ and Flicka finished a lengthy PSA on using a Tazer in the rain…

    Comment by EricPWJohnson (bb2271) — 10/6/2009 @ 9:30 am

  36. I do not stipulate that flicka47 accurately represents or reflects the attitudes of the general public toward law enforcement.

    Comment by daleyrocks (718861) — 10/6/2009 @ 10:37 am

  37. Flicka – DRJ gave you the acual number of shot and killed, why would that need to be divided in half? That does not even include shot and not killed, stabbed and killed, stabbed and not killed, and all of the various other permutations.

    Comment by JD (61265f) — 10/6/2009 @ 11:28 am

  38. The notion that police officers, as a profession, face some unique level of daily danger, and therefore deserve a huge leeway in terms of what behavior they are allowed to get away with in the name of safety, is a myth. The large majority of officer deaths and injuries come from traffic accidents, not criminals. Many, many professions are FAR more dangerous.

    When was the last time you heard of a cabbie beating or tazering a customer because said he/she was not “complying” with his requests? And getting off without being charged with a crime?

    The cab driver is in far more daily danger than a cop making a traffic stop.

    Comment by CTD (7054d2) — 10/6/2009 @ 2:12 pm

  39. “…many professions are FAR more dangerous…”

    Like, you know, commercial fishermen in the Bering Sea/Gulf of Alaska.

    Comment by AD - RtR/OS! (fb2a2a) — 10/6/2009 @ 2:23 pm

  40. “But my point was that it is most likely statistically as likely that a cop will get hit by lightening as to get shot by a citizen.”
    Comment by flicka47 — 10/5/2009 @ 9:54 pm

    Not in Philly, and I find your attempt at justifying your own views revolting.

    “The cab driver is in far more daily danger than a cop making a traffic stop.”
    Comment by CTD — 10/6/2009 @ 2:12 pm

    Not in Philly over the past five years.

    “Refusing to sign a ticket requires me to arrest you. It is NOT your right. No, I probably wouldn’t choose to taser an old lady because I can physically overcome her resistance to accomplish the handcuffing.”
    Comment by Bart998 —

    But the problem is Bart998, if she fights you, and you are using typically safe and even merciful technique, she could break forearms or hips simply from the force of her own resistance.

    No one really is in favor of tazering grandmothers, but if one is breaking the law and resisting arrest the officer either needs to subdue the person or let them go. Letting go is not likely going to be the option, and any mode of subduing a fighting person has some risk, especially if a frail person with osteoporosis, etc.

    Comment by MD in Philly (d4f9fa) — 10/6/2009 @ 2:34 pm

  41. “But the problem is Bart998, if she fights you, and you are using typically safe and even merciful technique, she could break forearms or hips simply from the force of her own resistance.”

    BS.

    Comment by Newtons.bit (a67c58) — 10/6/2009 @ 2:46 pm

  42. “Many, many professions are FAR more dangerous.”

    CTD – Apart from from the fact that nobody was claiming to make the point you are disputing, did you have something relevant to the actual post to say?

    Comment by daleyrocks (718861) — 10/6/2009 @ 3:30 pm

  43. “BS.”
    Comment by Newtons.bit — 10/6/20

    Many broken hips are not caused by falls, but falls are caused by broken hips, at least during the winter months in Northern states. The muscles can provide enough torque on osteoporitic bone to snap it as the person is fighting to maintain balance on a slippery surface.

    I request that you give a little more substance to your disagreements in the future.

    Comment by MD in Philly (d4f9fa) — 10/6/2009 @ 4:06 pm

  44. We’ve still plenty of police departments that don’t get it.

    [note: fished from spam filter. --Stashiu]

    Comment by SPQR (26be8b) — 10/6/2009 @ 4:15 pm

  45. Seriously. You’re arguing that the cop was doing the old lady a FAVOR by tasing her?

    Give me a break. He did what he did to punish her for disobeying him, not to subdue her.

    Comment by Newtons.Bit (ba2dac) — 10/6/2009 @ 4:51 pm

  46. AD – I once mushed a dogled on the Bering Sea and Norton Sound.

    Is it too much to ask the trolls to display a little bit of honesty?

    Comment by JD (787a1f) — 10/6/2009 @ 5:03 pm

  47. JD – You’re just a badge licking authoritarian.

    Comment by daleyrocks (718861) — 10/6/2009 @ 5:12 pm

  48. I am fascinated by “Derek’s” comment: But one commenter, Derek, said he would “gladly get tazed for far less than 40k….”

    I wonder how much he charges for getting whipped with a silken lash while wearing a garter belt, stockings, and high heels.

    Comment by nk (df76d4) — 10/6/2009 @ 5:37 pm

  49. We really are trying to justify the lowest of the lowest common denominators here — some hick constable tazing a 72-year old woman over a traffic ticket.

    Comment by nk (df76d4) — 10/6/2009 @ 5:40 pm

  50. Nk – I would gladly be tazed for considerably less than $40K.

    Comment by JD (787a1f) — 10/6/2009 @ 5:53 pm

  51. Great, now these threads are a S&M dating service …

    Comment by SPQR (26be8b) — 10/6/2009 @ 5:53 pm

  52. I say everyone stopped by the police should say, “I dare you to taze me” and then walk away, don’t cooperate, don’t let them arrest you, don’t follow any of their instructions. Then sue for 1 million dollars and settle for $40,000. If they don’t tazer you, make sure you fall down and scrape your head, then you can claim unnecessary roughness and get 15 yards, I mean unnecessary force and get money.

    Nobody thinks it is wonderful to treat elderly people, men or women, in a rough way, including using a taser. Could the officer have handled the situation from the beginning in a way that may have not escalated the confrontation? Perhaps. Should his manner of approaching people in general be reviewed? Of course.

    I’m just saying when the officer says, “Do this”, you are wise to do it, unless you really think it is a rogue cop who is about to beat the stink out of you. Otherwise you either say the law doesn’t count or the officer will need to physically subdue the person one way or another. If the video showed the officer reaching out and taking her arm, putting it behind her back and handcuffing her while she is fighting; then taking her back to his car while she continues to resist, falls to the ground, etc., and ends up with multiple bruises and cuts, we might just as well see a story about the rough and abusive treatment the officer gave her and a lawsuit.

    Perhaps Bart998 knows how to physically subdue someone who is uncooperative in a manner to not let them even hurt themselves if they tried.

    What do people think about the fact she settled for what was offered? If everyone in the courtroom would be aghast at the situation why not push for a bigger settlement? Pure speculation, just wondering your thoughts.

    Comment by MD in Philly (d4f9fa) — 10/6/2009 @ 6:59 pm

  53. Sorry I didn’t get back to this sooner,
    If any of you get back to this I’ll try to answer what you asked.

    JD as was mentioned later in the comments over half the deaths were traffic related,that is why the number was cut in half.Of the half that were shot,or died in some other confrontational manner,there is no breakdown for who was shot in a routine traffic stop,or in a more nefarious situation.

    The lightening strikes.The absolute numbers were almost identical.The average total deaths over 10 years of LEOs was 76(half of which were traffic related,leaving 38 “violent” deaths).The lightening strikes were 70 for the total population of the US.( I will give the edge,but only the edge,to LEOs here,but a very large portion of the population of the US will never be at risk of getting hit by lightening)

    I said the woman was stupid to not just sign the ticket. I can’t believe anyone her age,or with an IQ over 90 doesn’t know that what you do is sign the ticket. You might not agree with getting the ticket,but that whole process is to limit the amount of aggravation so you can fight it out in court,not so you can fight it out with the cop on the street which is just stupid. Sensible system on the surface.Does not always work like it should,which I know for a fact it does not.But folks would be a lot madder if they got hauled into jail instead of being able to just sign the ticket and be on their way.

    The woman is not however my point. The officer should not have physically pushed her down,nor tazered her. My point is the attitutde of LEOs in this country is not acceptable,sorry.

    There are much more dangerous occupations & those folks generally do not get to use guns or tazers on folks whose atitude they don’t like,or abuse their authority while doing their job,in fact if they did a lot of them would go to jail.So there is no good reason that LEO’s should be allowed to do so either,to the contrary they should be held to an even higher standard,as they have all the power. And the situations where they do not meet that standard are becoming more and more common.

    When you get to the point that three adult men as Police Officers shoot a 19yearold,declawed 6 lb cat because they say it is “dangerous”,you’ve got a problem.

    When you get to the point that a fireman thinks his LEO training allows him to violate two Supreme Court rulings & a Federal Amendment and terrorise people because they refuse to speak with him because of his attitude,you have a serious breakdown of what should be the job of Law Enforcement.

    Comment by flicka47 (3e174b) — 10/7/2009 @ 4:17 am

  54. The sweet little old lady,who had just been stopped after speeding wildly through a construction zone and putting the workers there at risk of being killed by her, not only refused to sign her ticket, she kept trying to get backin her vehicle to continue merrily on her way.

    The officer stopped her from continuing to drive like a maniac, and stopped her from putting innocent lives at risk.

    The officer might (I guess most likely) would have prevailed in court, after a long and arduous defense of his actions, costing the county hundreds of thousands in legal fees and likely generating protests by the local rabble rousing activists.

    The county saved itself money at the price of some bad publicity, avoiding higher costs and likely more (intentionally framed to be bad) publicity.

    The officer involved apparently was not happy with the decision, but it was not his to make. The old woman, had she driven off and killed someone with her idiotic driving, would have left the county with even higher legal bills and settlement costs.

    Comment by Mikee (ffe26d) — 10/7/2009 @ 5:40 am

  55. I would have taken the keys out of the ignition and then called for an ambulance and a tow truck. But then I’m not an unemployable jerk with a 95 IQ but a good physical skills and a cousin who made me his deputy to keep me off welfare.

    Comment by nk (df76d4) — 10/7/2009 @ 8:17 am

  56. nk: Can you reach the keys? While the driver is screaming and flailing at you? Maybe clawing at your face while you lean in the window? What if the driver has the car in gear? What if the ignition lock is in a center console, out of reach from the window?

    I do like your attitude toward police, though. Next time you have an encounter with police, be sure to tell them that you know they are stupid and otherwise unemployable.

    Flicka47: The chance of an average American being struck by lightning in a year is 1:700,000.

    In 2006, 46 LEOs were shot at and killed. In that year, state and local government employed 919,000 LEOs. So the chance of an LEO being shot and killed is 1:20,000 – 35 times greater. 2,278 LEOs were assaulted with firearms – and that number was for reporting departments covering 223M people. So the chance of an LEO merely being shot at is 1:400 – 1,750 times greater.

    IOW, your flip assertion is not just wrong, it is off by over three orders of magnitude

    Comment by Rich Rostrom (f3a9de) — 10/7/2009 @ 11:03 am

  57. [...] The incident happened in May 2009. I originally posted on it here with follow-up posts here and here. [...]

    Pingback by Patterico's Pontifications » No Indictment for Texas Constable Who Tasered Granny (e4ab32) — 4/1/2010 @ 11:22 pm

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