Lona Varner, an 87 year old grandmother in El Reno, Oklahoma, agreed to settle the federal lawsuit she filed after police shocked her in her own bed with a Taser. The officers were also alleged to have stepped on Varner’s oxygen hose depriving her of air.
Varner filed a lawsuit against the City of El Reno claiming she was wrongly stunned with a Taser. The police threw Varner’s grandson to the floor and handcuffed him when he told officers, “Don’t Tase my granny!”
Citing a confidentiality agreement, Varner’s attorney would not disclose the amount of the settlement.
Police officers claim they entered Varner’s apartment after learning that she might be attempting suicide with a drug overdose. They also claimed that the 87 year old Varner pulled a kitchen knife from under her pillow and said, ‘If you try and get the knife, I will stab you and kill you.'” The officers claimed it was necessary to stun Varner to prevent her from attacking them. Varner denied making any threats to police and also denied attempting suicide.
While no one would deny that being a police officer is a dangerous job, it is hard to conceive how these officers could have felt legitimately threatened by this 87 year old granny and why they had to to stun her twice with their Taser. This absurdity was apparently the primary reason the City of El Reno settled this case rather than have a jury decide it.
As most of you know, the Taser is considered a less lethal means (as opposed to a gun) of stopping a dangerous suspect. The Taser fires an electrical dart into the suspect and stuns him or her with an electrical current. For the most part, people stunned with a Taser make a complete recovery. Perhaps because of the reduced potential for serious injuries to granny, the officers felt they could “teach a lesson” of respect to Varner with their Taser.
Indeed, Varner recovered, but the professional judgment of the officers in using this degree of force to restrain an 87 year old woman was questionable. The end result is that the city, on the eve of trial, paid money to settle this case.
With over 50 years of collective service to the South Florida community, the Hollywood personal injury lawyers at The Ben Law Firm have helped thousands of clients to obtain money compensation for their personal injury and wrongful death claims
All of the firm’s partners have received the prestigious “AV” rating from Martindale-Hubbell Law Directory, which is a recognition by their peers in the legal community that their practice meets the highest professional and ethical standards.