Community left frustrated after school board meeting about use of Taser on 15-year-old
June 06, 2019 10:14 PM
ESPAÑOLA, N.M. — Española school district officials faced the community Thursday about the controversial use of a Taser on a 15-year-old special needs student by a Rio Arriba County Sheriff's deputy.
The Española school board called a special meeting, but many people – including board members – were shocked they couldn't actually talk about the tasing incident.
In May, deputy Jeremy Barnes suspected the student was dealing drugs. Even when the boy complied with law enforcement demands, Barnes used the Taser on the boy several times.
The district's attorney advised since the district is being sued by the boy's family, officials should not discuss it in public. However, that only frustrated elected officials who are being bombarded with calls and emails from parents and students.
KOB 4 learned the district contracts the sheriff's office for school security – and that contract does require deputies working inside the schools to have formalized training. It appears that Barnes never received that specialized training and district officials never checked for it.
"I think we make assumptions that they have had proper training and yet we don't get documentation of that," said Bobbie Gutierrez, district superintendent. "I think we need to ask for that documentation."
The boy's attorney, Shannon Kennedy, said it would be a mistake to think the boy is OK after this incident.
"He is not fine, he is terrified," Kennedy said. "This is a boy who is a freshman in high school who was tased so severely he is terrified to come out of his room, he is suffering from PTSD. There was a grown man with his knee on the back of his head, he couldn't breathe. He's going to see a cardiologist."
The sheriff of the Rio Arriba County has publicly defended Barne's actions but has called for an internal use-of-force investigation.
Updated: June 06, 2019 10:14 PM
Created: June 06, 2019 08:48 PM
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