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Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Vancouver Police Tasers Teen Endanger Newborn

Mother Misha Peterson was Tasered by Vancouer police Monday after officials tried to take custody of her newborn son.

Mother Misha Peterson was Tasered by Vancouer police Monday after officials tried to take custody of her newborn son.

As reported by canada.com

Vancouver police say a teen mother was Tasered on her arm and upper back after three hours of talks failed to persuade her to give up custody of her son -- but the teen told The Province she was zapped on the neck.

Misha Peterson, 16, told The Province three or four officers held her down on a bed and zapped her twice on the neck until she let go of her baby, a boy named Taige.

"She's got the two marks on the back of her neck," said Doreen Duncan, the grandmother of Scott Michell, Misha's boyfriend and the baby's dad. "There's nothing on the arm or shoulder." Const. Jana McGuinness told a news conference Friday that officers touched the five-foot-one, 110-pound teen's arm and upper back with the Taser at the end of "emotionally intense" negotiations to attempt to take custody of the one-month-old baby.

She couldn't be reached for further comment on the weekend.

Spokesman Const. Tim Fanning said he wasn't familiar with the file and couldn't comment.

Friday, McGuinness defended the officers' decision to Taser the teen.

"Some people may criticize our actions, but there was a child's life in the balance here," she said.

"The last thing we would have ever wanted to do was get in a tug-and-war situation with the mother." The mom was seated at the time and officers were able to retrieve the baby, who they say has been critically ill since birth, from her lap, she said.

McGuinness said the mother was seated and her body at times was over the child.

"Officers felt it was critical to intervene because the actions of the mother led them to believe the baby would be smothered," she said.

"The use of the Taser allowed us to bring this to a safe conclusion for the mother and the child," she said.

Police were called Monday afternoon to Scott's apartment by social workers after Misha failed to return to her foster home on Sunday. Scott isn't allowed to see the child without adult supervision.

McGuinness wouldn't reveal how many officers were involved.

Police didn't identify what condition the baby was born with nor confirm Misha is the mother involved, but they say a woman was arrested under the Mental Health Act and not charged.

Duncan said the baby was healthy except for a minor brain condition and the couple spent their days with Taige, although Scott lives with friends and Misha is in foster care.

"They had a stroller and they went everywhere together," she said. "They're used to having the baby all the time and it's like a part of them has been wrenched out." She said Misha absconded with Taige after social workers told her there would be a custody hearing and Misha would have to earn her baby back. More HERE

What We Think About Taser Abuse

The publisher of this blog is also the publisher of African American Political Pundit.com

Taser misuse has led to controversy across the country.

Tasered While Black.

We are not against taser use as an alternative to deadly force. We are however against taser abuse by police who would use of a taser on the young, elderly, pregnant or physically frail; people offering passive, rather than active resistance; and restrained prisoners.

The publisher of this blog is available to conduct presentations on the issue of taser use for police agencies, governmental bodies, and groups in the U.S. and abroad.

Contact him via email at: tasedwhileblack@gmail.com

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