Excessive Force

By: Justin Ware
By: Justin Ware

Last month three sheriff's deputies brought a handcuffed man into the Riverview Hospital after arresting him for drunk driving. What happened next has become the center of a controversy over whether or not the deputies are guilty of using excessive force.

Both Wood County sheriff's authorities and witnesses to the scene agree on this after a handcuffed man in sheriff's custody used foul language in a Wood County emergency room last month. The deputies supervising him took out their tasers and used them on him.

"I don't think that that was necessary to do to a handcuffed prisoner," said Diane Richmond.

What differs between the two stories is why the man was shocked and how appropriate the punishment was for the crime. Richmond says there was no apparent reason for the taser guns. She did hear foul language come from the man, but not as he was being shocked.

After completing an investigation, Sheriff Kurt Heuer says the three deputies on the scene reacted exactly as they should have.

"Our officers, based on the information we had, had operated and done their jobs based on our training policies and procedures," said Heuer.

Heuer says the deputies warned the man to behave before taking him into the hospital and shocked him only after he began acting up.

But Richmond believes the officers’ actions were not appropriate. On Thursday, she brought her case before the Wood County Sheriff and Traffic Committee, asking them to look into the case.

She also asked that the committee take a look at the hospital's surveillance video, something that hasn't been done by any of those involved, but so far the hospital has not agreed to release that video due to medical privacy laws.

There is one other twist in the alleged abuse case; the man who the deputies were escorting through the hospital has not filed any complaints against the Sheriff's Department for abuse.

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