Rock Hill refuses to release officer's records who used Taser on elderly woman - - Columbia, South Carolina

Rock Hill refuses to release officer's records who used Taser on elderly woman

(Rock Hill-AP) Dec. 29, 2004 - Rock Hill officials have refused a newspaper's request to release the disciplinary records of a police officer who used a stun gun on a 75-year-old woman in a retirement home.

City Manager Carey Smith told The (Rock Hill) Herald on Tuesday disclosing the records would invade Officer Hattie Macon's privacy. The newspaper had requested the records under the state's Freedom of Information Act.

The Herald asked for the records after Macon used a stun gun to subdue Margaret Kimbrell during an incident at a Rock Hill retirement home. An internal Rock Hill police investigation found Macon should have used a different restraint method first, but did not discipline her any further.

An internal investigation provides eyewitness accounts of what led Officer Macon to use the Taser on Kimbrell at EdenGardens Assisted Living Home.

Kimbrell had refused to leave the nursing home after trying to visit a sick friend on October 15th. A report says Kimbrell jerked away from Macon as she tried to grab her and later swung her arm at Macon's face. Kimbrell was charged with trespassing and resisting arrest.

The internal investigation report says Officer Macon contradicted herself in statements. She remains on the force.

Last month Rock Hill Police Chief John Gregory said Macon, who joined the department about a year-and-a-half ago, should have tried a less intense method. He says an internal investigation concluded Macon should have tried to hold Kimbrell's arms and wrists before using the Taser.

Rock Hill Police use Tasers to control people who are punching, kicking or biting, or for suspects who are fleeing or refusing to be handcuffed. Chief Gregory says he recently began discouraging officers from using the devices on fleeing suspects who aren't considered dangerous.

Police say Tasers cut back on injuries to officers and suspects because they reduce the need for physical struggles. But, civil libertarians question whether the devices are safe and have called for their use to be limited.

Posted 1:33pm by BrettWitt

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