By Jeff Lehr
CASSVILLE, Mo. — Three sheriff’s deputies and three Cassville police officers have been placed on administrative leave pending the completion of an investigation into a deputy’s alleged use of a Taser gun on a suicidal woman at the Barry County Jail.
Barry County Sheriff Mick Epperly said he sent a letter to the Missouri State Highway Patrol on Monday requesting an outside investigation of an incident July 24 at the jail.
The sheriff said a 40-year-old woman from Butterfield contacted an off-duty sheriff’s deputy about 10 p.m. on July 23 at his home in Butterfield, stating that she was suicidal. The off-duty officer contacted the sheriff’s office, and an on-duty deputy was dispatched to the home.
Epperly said that deputy called for an ambulance after speaking with the woman, and she was taken to St. John’s Hospital in Cassville for a voluntary committal for mental evaluation. But the woman later left the hospital on her own, the sheriff said. County deputies and Cassville police were notified, and they sought to pick her up again out of concern for her well-being, the sheriff said.
Epperly said they found her in Cassville, but she became combative and had to be restrained with handcuffs and leg shackles.
“She was very combative during all this and wanting to do bodily harm to herself,” the sheriff said.
He said the woman was taken to the jail in handcuffs and shackles about 12:30 a.m. on July 24 and was left lying in the booking area, where she began hitting her head on a concrete floor. He said officers tried to get her to stop, even placing a towel around her head to cushion her from the blows she was rendering, but she would not stop.
Epperly said a deputy then used a Taser gun on her in the presence of two other deputies and three police officers. Epperly said the use of the Taser, which delivers an electronic shock, and the other officers’ failure to intervene and keep the deputy from using it are what he and the Cassville police chief have called into question as improper policy and procedure.
One of the other deputies present had supervisory duties with respect to the other deputies at the time, the sheriff said.
The woman eventually was taken to the Hawthorn Center in Joplin for mental evaluation and possible treatment. The sheriff said she apparently did not suffer any physical injury from the deputy’s use of the Taser gun.
The names of three Barry County sheriff’s deputies and three Cassville police officers who have been placed on leave while an investigation is in progress into the alleged use of a Taser gun on a suicidal woman are being withheld by the sheriff’s and police departments pending the outcome of the investigation.
By Jeff Lehr
- Local News
Registration continues for Get Fit TRYathlon in Pittsburg
On average, it costs more than $600 to match one child with an adult volunteer in the Crawford County Big Brothers Big Sisters program. Four years ago, the Get Fit TRYathlon was born as a fundraiser for the program, and it has been gaining momentum, organizers say.
Council to consider condemnation measures for widening projects
The Joplin City Council on Monday night will consider ordinances for proposed condemnation proceedings on five pieces of property that are needed for three street widening projects.
Andra Bryan Stefanoni: The story of two engines that could
It’s hard not to be enamored by trains if you grew up where I did. Pittsburg is crisscrossed by rail lines, as are many Southeast Kansas towns that were built on the backs of coal miners.
Jo Ellis: Mudslinging can be fun when it’s in the hands of kids
CARTHAGE, Mo. — It’s slick. It’s sticky. It’s goopy. It’s soupy. It’s Mudstock 2013, and it’s going to be so much fun for kids. But hold on. Carthage police Chief Greg Dagnan said Mudstock isn’t just for kids. “Adults go through it all the time, and they have just as much fun,” he said, adding, “I think.”
‘Lucky ’13’: 481 graduate from Joplin High School
Samantha Mahurin believes students in the Joplin High School class of 2013 are unique in that they have survived — together — what she calls the “roller coaster” of their high school career.
Announcements, picnics, tributes all scheduled for tornado anniversary event
Wednesday’s second anniversary observance of the May 22, 2011, tornado that devastated the Joplin and Duquesne area is expected to include several key announcements.
Susan Redden: Lawmakers pass bills to benefit veterans
Joplin area legislators scored some victories the last week of the Missouri General Assembly’s session, but if anyone is keeping count, the record has to go to Rep. Charlie Davis.
Interfaith services an outgrowth of 2011 tornado in Joplin
Celebrating community and rebuilding, members of three faiths came together Sunday at the Landreth Park amphitheater as part of an ongoing interfaith effort that came out of the aftermath of the May 22, 2011, tornado.
FACES OF RECOVERY: 176,869 volunteers help put Joplin together again
They initially came in droves, pouring into Joplin by the thousands during the months following the May 2011 tornado to clear debris, clean up damaged homes and businesses and distribute donations of food, water, clothing and other necessities.
Civil War committee honors sacrifice of soldiers ambushed at Rader Farm
Dozens of local residents gathered Saturday at the Rader Farm on the 150th anniversary of the massacre of 15 soldiers of the 1st Kansas Colored Volunteer Infantry and three white soldiers from the 2nd Kansas Volunteer Artillery Battery by guerrilla Confederate forces.
- More Local News Headlines
- Registration continues for Get Fit TRYathlon in Pittsburg