• Jan 4, 2011

Ohio police use Tazer on diabetic driver – Click above to watch video after the jump

According to the Cincinnatti Enquirer, motorist John Harmon was on his way home from work when his blood-sugar got too low. As a diabetic, this meant trouble, and Harmon's vehicle veered into another lane. A nearby Hamilton, Ohio sheriff's deputy spotted the unintentional maneuver and pulled him over. The officer then approached the car with his gun drawn and screamed at Harmon before smashing his window open. Harmon, 52, was then cut out of his seatbelt and dragged him to the ground. On the way down, his elbow was severely dislocated but the pain didn't end there. During this process he received seven shocks from a Tazer and kicked in the head... all while cowering on the ground in pain. According to the account, an Ohio Highway Patrol Officer arrived on the scene and was shocked to find Harmon being treated in this manner. He separated the officers from Harmon, only to discover Harmon's diabetics.

Harmon is currently suing the sheriff's office, but the officers are all still working. In fact, the original officer on the scene filed felony charges against Harmon and his boss signed off on them.

The Highway Patrol video of the incident is available after the jump. A word of warning, however: While you can't see the commotion, you can hear Mr. Harmon's anguished voice.

[Source: Cincinnati.com]


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  • 93 Comments
      • 4 Years Ago
      That is messed up.
        • 4 Years Ago
        The fact that I'm paying these b@stards with my tax dollars makes me sick.
        • 4 Years Ago
        oh yeah, black guy. big SUV. white neighborhood.

        i mean, its obvious it would end this way.

        i hope those cops get fired without pension/retirement/benefits and i hope he gets more in punitive damages than hes asking.

        I don't really like state troopers, all they do is give speeding tickets but i'm glad he stepped in
        • 4 Years Ago
        Caz,

        No one expects cops to be "perfect", and yes, they can make mistakes.

        But THIS is not a mistake, this is a crime. A crime against humanity, against the well being of society. And admit it, this is not the first time it's happened.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Elmo does have a point; even when consistently monitored, and insulin administered via pump, sometimes blood sugar levels can quickly become unpredictable and a problem. The chances, depending on how well levels are monitored, can be very slim, but it does happen. Given that the number of diabetics in this country is significantly rising, our constabulary would do well in learning about the effects, symptoms, and immediate treatment for diabetic shock.

        Give the guy a Lifesaver instead of a Tazer shock, and nobody would be in court.
        • 4 Years Ago
        @ everyone who down voted Caz: you are guilty of what has caused you to be upset to start with.

        A bit hypocritical to generalize - just as these police officers did.

        Caz stated that these individuals were 100% wrong, but again don't judge the rest anymore than you would judge all black men, diabetics, or SUV drivers, etc. by the actions of one or two.
        • 4 Years Ago
        We trust police to protect us and enforce the law. Most of them do just that. However, when that trust is so completely broken in an event like this, I believe that the officers in question should not only lose their jobs and pensions but should face criminal charges as well.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Why does it say "fighting" in the Autoblog post? When the victim doesn't resist, especially because he is incapacitated, you should call that a "beating" or something worse.

        The word "fighting" implies that the victim was resisting arrest and subtly justifies this excessive use of force.
        • 4 Years Ago
        I've lived in a lot of 1st & 2nd world countries, and only in the US do I despise cops. I'm a 100% law bidding citizen and never even gotten a ticket for that matter, but having been witness to how cops treat people and the attitude they carry is just despicable for a nation like this. Nothing more than high school losers or ex-macho-military pricks. I understand if they run into some people who deserve some rough treatment, but believe it or not, we're not all the same.
        • 4 Years Ago
        To protect and serve, and taze, and smash heads in, and humiliate, and grow mustaches, and generally just be duesch bags.
        • 4 Years Ago
        What wasn't mentioned...he was black. DWB is a felony offense in Ohio.
        • 4 Years Ago
        That is pretty messed up.

        This certainly seems like a case of police brutality. In a separate but related topic, I can't help but feel like a diabetic that causes an accident due to low blood sugar is the responsibility of the diabetic. I know it sounds messed up AND IN NO WAY AM I SAYING THIS GUY DESERVED THIS TREATMENT, but they should know their limits and monitor their condition before getting behind the wheel of a car, and if that simply isnt possible then I think that person should not have a drivers license. I know a few diabetics that are too lax about what they eat and monitoring their levels, that's just like me not monitoring by sleep/ ability to stay awake or perhaps my blood alcohol level.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Typical responses from the ignorant. Cops are human & yes they made a BIG mistake this time... but you have no idea the stresses & BS they take on everyday! Thousands of officers do their job correctly day in & day out without gratitude or recognition. Yes, some were not the smartest kids in high school but they're still out there risking their lives for $35k a year. We expect them to be perfect when we need them & nonexistant when we don't. The world doesn't work that way.
        I've been a medic for 10 years. On the ambulance, we takes loads of BS from people but it's nothing close to what I witnessed cops endure. Try to remember that 90% of the people they encounter each shift are trying to deceive, lie to, complain to or do harm them. That builds up and some people break. The cops in this incident were 100% WRONG! Just asking you think twice before labeling the other 99%
        • 4 Years Ago
        A.C.A.B.
        • 4 Years Ago
        @Caz

        you're right and people wouldn't generalize as much if there was a sense of trust but time after time, reports like this about police abuse/power abuse/brutality/corruption/etc. it breaks down the trust that people have in their police force, missing evidence doesnt help either. The point is, we generalize because there's a history of mistrust, if you want that generalization to go away then reports like these need to be prevented/stopped.

        Here's an analogy, car related too! 10 years ago, everyone would "generalize" and say Hyundai's are crap. We can't say that now. Why? Because hyundai proved they can build quality vehicles and we can see it today. That trust is back. If cops dont want to be generalized they need to build that trust.
        • 4 Years Ago
        @Caz,

        My landlord is a Sheriff's deputy and he says his job is EASY. And he works in a drug- and gang-infested area. He says all the stuff about how their job is dangerous and about how they are heros is TOTAL BS perpetuated by self-serving cops, the media, and the ignorant. Which one are you?

        And if cops are just "human", how come they are given super-human authority without super-human oversight?

        What makes this case special, and a clear case of "Blue Wall of Silence" BS attempt to harass and intimidate the victim into silence, is that the deputy filed obviously bogus felony charges and the deputy's boss supported it.

        Same thing happened over in Maryland when trooper David Uhler committed two felonies against Anthony Graber and Graber posted the video on youtube. Instead of filing charges against the trooper, the prosecutor, one Joseph Cassilly, had the balls to file bogus "wiretapping" charges against Graber at the request of the head of the state trooopers. Those charges were clearly more harassment and intimidation to attempt to silence, or at least punish, Mr. Graber. They lasted about 5 seconds in court before a judge threw them out. Uhler still has not been charged for his criminal actions.

        The police in this country are out of control. They think they can do whatever they want, and anybody who questions them or exposes their misconduct must be a criminal and harassed until they are silenced.
        • 4 Years Ago
        @MTbiker

        Become a type 1 diabetic, then you'll find out how hard it is to monitor your condition.
        • 4 Years Ago
        "Don't Tase me, Bro!"
      • 4 Years Ago
      I hope this guy gets a big payoff and the cops are fired. Although they are entitled to a trial, it's a waste of time and money. If a civilian did anything like this to a cop, other cops would have shot him and if he didn't die a crooked prosecutor would make sure he never saw the sun shine again.

      I never met or heard of a cop or a prosecutor who didn't prefer that an innocent man be convicted of crime instead of admitting to a mistake or criminal behavior by law enforcement.

      This garbage goes on all the time and they usually get away with it.
      • 4 Years Ago
      oh to those who want to blame the guy for not taking care of his diabetes, is that enough to get this kind of abuse? if someone had an asthma attack on the road and swerve he'll get beat up like this too?

      a better reaction would be to call for an ambulance.
      • 4 Years Ago
      this is disgusting, what a horrible cop that is, even if he WAS drunk you taze him and kick him in the head!? hell no he should be fired and face charges
      • 4 Years Ago
      We've got a few diabetics in our family, and when their blood-sugar gets out of line, you may find yourself dealing with a violent, mentally-handicapped basket-case.

      I'm sure there is more to the story than meets the eye, but it's obvious to me that these officers need to be suspended or fired. The Tazer is a non-lethal replacement for a firearm, not a cattle prod. You don't taze people like cattle in order to herd them from point A to point B, and you don't taze them to get their hands behind their back. You don't taze them for having low blood sugar either. Glad this guy didn't suffer cardiac problems during the incident.

      The real tragedy is that this issue needs to be dealt with quickly and forgotten so that people can move on. The damage is psychological and the longer this is tied up on court, the worse things will get for Harmon and the cops. Harmon will become an uber-victim and these cops will become uber-villains. The lives of everyone involved will be forever shaped by tragedy. Society loses.

      Fire these guys so they can find a new line of work or at least suspend them and run them through psych evaluations. Compensate Harmon. Drop charges if he has been a decent human being for the last couple of years. Apologize publicly. Thank God no one died, and then wake up and try to do better tomorrow.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Based on similar incidents in other states the officers will suffer one of the following:

      1. Continue to get paid and eventually get their old jobs back. The victim will be forced to apologize.

      2. Continue to get paid, attend "How to identify sick people" training and get their old job backs. The victim will be required to attend "How to manage your insulin levels" training.

      3. Continue to get paid, be admonished for not getting someone to block the dash cam and get their old jobs back.

      Don't think that merely committing a felony while on duty will get you fired nor will it ever get their pensions impacted. To the cop the worst thing that can happen is that they could be fired before they have a chance to "spike" their pension qualifications. It is this process that can allow a police officer (or fireman) to retire at more than their base pay. The days of low paid policemen are largely over in urban areas. If you are in a blue state many of your policemen earn over $100K / year. In California most prison guards make over $100K (w/ overtime). Many retire at 50 and their pensions sound more like Wall Street’s. In NY according to the NYT a police officer retired at 50 and is making $246K per year for his pension. These high wages aren't just for police officers. Many municipalities have been cajoled by the unions to include all sorts of clerical staff under the officer pay scales, consequently there are staff with only a high school diploma making big bucks and looking forward to the Cadillac pension starting at fifty.

      It is doubtless that many officers do work under a lot of strain. Who doesn't these days? The injury rate for police and firemen is much less than other occupations. Go ask an officer the last time he fired his gun on duty or when was the last time he took it out of his holster. Most will be surprised. Barney Fife has fired his gun more than many of today's officers.

      • 4 Years Ago
      I'll see your police brutality, and raise you a $50 gazillion law suit. They will settle out of court for $5 gazillion and he can get a set of platinum fronts and some dubs.
      jabdu
      • 3 Years Ago
      Plays right out of the rouge cop handbook: Charge the victim with trumped up counts so the police can offer to drop the charges in return for a settlement. It's a classic move.

      Too many cops think they're above the law. The cops should be charged with assault.
      • 3 Years Ago
      With the extra legal protection given to police, police brutality should be a caoital offense.
      • 4 Years Ago
      That cop needs to loose his job and face criminal charges for assault. The man was having a seizure for god's sake and he tased and kicked him. That badge doesn't put you above the law.
      • 4 Years Ago
      As a former police officer in the northeast, I've had a very similar incident happen with me.
      I was following a gentleman and he too was weaving across the lane of travel and I attempted to stop him. He failed to stop and the pursuit was on. I had 3 other officers assist me. After approximately 3 miles of non high speed pursuit the perp was stopped. Approaching his drivers window he too failed to follow my requests and was pulled from the vehicle and he did resist and actually ripped my shirt by pulling my badge off.

      Once we had him restrained and hand cuffed I immediately noticed that he seemed dazed. We did not harm or injure him, we only restrained him enough to cuff him.
      You have to realize when an officer is assaulted ( I was by him grabbing my badge and ripping from my shirt) tensions are very high.

      Once he was cuffed and asking him questions it was obvious that there was something wrong with him. I transported him back to our station and I always had a candy bar for a snack at the station for my shift. I gave him the candy bar and contacted the medics to come and assist him.
      He apologized after he got back to his normal mode. He offered to pay for my shirt and I declined as I already felt bad for the entire incident. He was a true gentleman and actually sent a letter of apology to our dept and thanked us for being professionals.

      I can understand how high tensions get but honestly I have to say this guy should not have been charged based on the article and audio. I don't understand why officers have to be so macho and basically beat this guy for no reason.

      It's so easy to react. What you need to do is think and act and not react.

      If the article is correct, I hope he files a civil rights violation law suit and these officers are found liable. Departments and officers like this give good common sense officers a bad name.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Ten fooooooourrrrrrrrrr, sir.

        We don't see what happened before to cause what we do see in the video. But diabetics can be aggressive. They can also be passed out. The article and the majority of the readers don't seem to recognize this, perhaps some by choice. We don't know where in this range the driver fits, and therefore don't know if this was justified or not. Stay within your department's or agency's use of force policies and the use of force continuum and you don't have much to worry about aside from false allegations. And if that happens, that's what the large amounts of money I shill out for insurance is for.
      • 4 Years Ago
      I'm surprised this didn't happen in Texas. The police around here are often beleaguered with problems. I wish Harmon a speedy and full recovery and I hope that the officer involved i this case gets the treatment he deserves: 10 to 20 years behind bars. The acts that that officer did were completely criminal. It's not good when the police are on the wrong side of the law.
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