As officers tase teen: “I’ll keep on doing that until I run out of batteries.”

The above video is disturbing to watch. It shows Jordin Norris, an 18-year-old in custody at a Cheatham County, Tennessee jail physically strapped down and restrained to a chair while police officers tase him repeatedly. The incident took place last November. Norris has just recently filed a lawsuit that alleges the officers involved use ‘excessive force’ and demonstrated a ‘failure to protect’ Norris from the abusive use of the taser.

According to the lawsuit the incident originated when Norris “began suffering a mental health episode and was banging his own head against the door.” Norris, who was in the jail for drug related charges and possession of a prohibited weapon, was removed from his cell and placed in a restraint chair for his own safety. Norris was then placed on suicide watch and a nurse was called. At this point according to the suit and the jail’s CCTV video Norris’ arms, chest, waist, and legs were all restrained by a restraint chair. One of the defendants in the lawsuit, officer Marriott, can be seen holding Norris’ head, neck and shoulders in an effort to restrain him. 

The lawsuit alleges that defendant and Officer Bryant then shocked Norris in the first of three incidents 4 times for a total of 50 seconds while surrounding officers either helped restrain Norris or just looked on. A second and third incident where the officers tase Norris are also reported. In reports with multiple newspapers Norris’ stepfather counted over 40 burns on his body. Norris’ lawyers believe many more tasing incidents took place which are not accounted for in the CCTV video or police Use of Force Reports.

At one point the lawsuit alleges that Defendant Bryant stated: “I’ll keep on doing that until I run out of batteries.” Bryant also allegedly tells Norris to stop resisting while Bryant is still tasing Norris.

The lawsuit further claims “audio on the Taser camera includes an unidentified person laughing while Defendant Bryant repeatedly tased Plaintiff Norris. Another identified person can be heard remarking, ‘Goddamn that kid is being lit up!'”

After being strapped down in a restraint chair for hours and tased repeatedly Norris was taken to Centennial Medical Center in Ashland City, TN for medical treatment. Norris was then moved to Middle Tennessee Mental Health Institute (MTMHI) for several days for mental health treatment before he was returned to the jail. Norris was then freed on bond on November 16th, eleven days after the November 5th tasing incident. Upon release Norris’ family was horrified by the number of burn marks on his body which lead to the investigation into the incident and the subsequent lawsuit.

2015 Washington Post investigation found that about one person per week died that year in incidents in which stun guns were used. The website Electronic Village has accounted for 634 documented taser-related deaths in America between 2001 and 2014. Of course deaths are not the only consequences of excessive use of tasers. A Chicago woman who suffered a miscarriage days after being unnecessarily tased just won a $500,000 lawsuit. When a taser is used correctly perhaps it is a better option than a gun for both the police officer and the one being tased. However, the taser is often looking like a weapon of torture and indiscriminate punishment. Once again, we need police officers to stand up and re-affirm citizens that they are sworn to their duty to serve and protect the people and they are not our enemy.