El Reno OK Lawsuit: Disabled grandmother Tasered by El Reno Police

06/30/2010 // WPB, FL, USA // Nicole Howley // Nicole Howley

Oklahoma City, OK—A federal lawsuit claims the El Reno police “cruelly injured” an elderly and disabled woman with a stun gun, while she lay in her hospital-type bed hooked up to oxygen. The police officers responded to the elderly woman’s home after her grandson called 911, because his grandmother wanted to die, as reported by UPI.

Lonnie D Tinsley, the grandson to 86-year-old Lona M. Varner, was visiting his grandmother when he called 911 on Dec. 22, 2009.

“She says … her life is over. She wants to end it. … She’s taken some medicine. I don’t know what she’s taken,” Tinsley said in the 911 call. “I can’t get her to tell me what she took. … She’s kind of upset and everything else,” says Tinsley.

About 10 El Reno police officers subsequently responded to the emergency call. One of the police officers even stepped on Varner’s oxygen hose, causing her to suffer from oxygen deprivation.

Varner apparently fought back at the help, and pulled a knife from underneath her pillow and threatened officers. One of the officers she threatened subsequently fired a Taser at her, striking her with only one prong.

The lawsuit alleges, “The police then fired a second Taser, striking her to the right and left of the midline of her upper chest and applied high voltage, causing burns to her chest, extreme pain and to pass out. The police then grabbed Ms. Varner by her forearms and jerked hands together, causing her soft flesh to tear and bleed on her bed; they then handcuffed her.”

Both Varner and Tinsley filed a federal lawsuit in Oklahoma City as a result. They claim their civil rights were violated and El Reno failed to adequately train and discipline its officers who were involved in the incident. The suit did not specify what damages were being sought.

Legal News Reporter: Nicole Howley-Legal news for Oklahoma civil rights lawyers.

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