INDEPENDENCE, Mo. —A federal grand jury has returned a four-count indictment against a former Independence, Missouri, police Officer Timothy Runnels.I Googled Bryce Masters this morning to see if he got any justice for getting tasered into a coma - literally into a coma - last September. Because the taser prongs hit him near his heart, Bryce suffered cardiac arrest and spent months recovering from brain injury.
According to the indictment, Runnels violated the constitutional rights of a minor who was in his custody and obstructed the subsequent investigation.
An incident report released in September showed that Runnels stopped Bryce Masters, 17, and smelled marijuana from the passenger's side window.
Runnels asked Masters to step out of the car, but he refused.
Cellphone video shows Runnels using a Taser on Masters.
According to the federal indictment, Runnels continuously deployed a Taser against Masters while he was on the ground and not posing a threat to Runnels or others.
The indictment also states, "Runnels deliberately dropped the minor headfirst onto the ground."
Runnels is no longer with the Independence Police Department.
He faces 10 years in prison for each of two counts of violating Masters' civil rights. (Source)
Some commenters have argued Bryce didn't show enough respect and shouldn't have refused to step out of the car. Y'all, let me break it down for you. I grew up in West Virgina, a 96% white state. Cops will terrorize whomever they can terrorize and get away with it - young white boys from the parks, women driving alone, disabled people - they don't give a shit. If they sense you are "vulnerable" in some way, they go in for jugular. Hell, while Bryce was being tasered in Independence, this was going on in Westover.
And unlike Bryce, there's been no update for this guy since September, 2014.
So when Bryce Masters is probably factoring in all this from the behind the wheel of his car (along with the recent hefty string of dead people), I can see why the boy might have hesitated. Now, I'm not saying he should've violated a direct order from a cop...but I understand.
I congratulate the Masters family for getting justice, and rather swiftly so. Runnels was taken off the force two months after the incident and was indicted this very week. And here's hoping he rots in prison for every single day of those ten years he's facing.
This was in Independence, Missouri, by the way, in case some of you weren't paying attention. Bryce's parents told their attorney they trusted the legal process, and the legal process appeared to come through for them. How come it couldn't do the same for Michael Brown's family, some 233 miles away in Ferguson? These events only took place about a month apart. The Independence cop was indicted; the FBI confirmed Runnels used excessive force - and Bryce is still alive. So why isn't this bigger news? Why aren't more mainstream outlets reporting on this interesting development rather than, say, Levi Pettit's fauxpology?
*blink* Three guesses why.