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Ohio boy, 9, shocked with stun gun; citizens seem fine with that

March 13, 2012|By Rene Lynch
  • New stun guns come off an assembly line, ready for testing at Taser International Inc. headquarters in Scottsdale, Ariz.
New stun guns come off an assembly line, ready for testing at Taser International… (Khampha Bouaphanh / Associated…)

Villagers in Mount Sterling, Ohio, are outraged in the wake of a police officer's decision to use a stun gun on a 9-year-old boy -- but not necessarily for the reason you might think.

The unfolding controversy began one week ago when a member of the village's part-time police force showed up at the home of Jared Perry. The 9-year-old is big for his age. He stands at least 5-foot-5- and weighs between 200 and 250 pounds, according to a police report obtained by the Columbus Dispatch.

The officer was there to arrest the boy on a charge of chronic truancy, the report said, but when the officer tried to pull the boy off the couch, the child reportedly "dropped to the floor and became dead weight" and began flailing around.

Things quickly escalated from there, according to the report:

The boy laid on his hands to avoid handcuffs. The officer brandished the stun gun -- which discharges a disabling current -- as a show of force. The officer wrote in the report that the boy's mother, Michelle Perry, urged her son to do as he was told, warning that he otherwise would be shocked.

The officer used the stun gun to shock the boy, and then did so again when he failed to comply, according to the Dispatch. The boy showed no signs of injury after the incident and didn't appear to need medical care, officials said. He was taken into custody on suspicion of resisting arrest as well as the truancy charge.

The incident made headlines in the small community southwest of Columbus, and Police Chief Mike McCoy has since resigned.

But many residents who crowded into a community meeting Monday night say they stand by police, and believe that the stun gun incident is being used by city officials as an excuse to oust the entire police department: The Madison County Sheriff's Department has since taken over patrols in the village.

McCoy says he was not asked to resign, but did so in a kind of protest against budget cutting that has left him unable to carry out the duties of his office. He has also come under criticism for not immediately alerting the mayor about the stun gun incident, but said he wanted to first get the details of the matter from his officer. 

One angry resident, Heather Rice, told the Dispatch she believes that the stun gun incident -- which is now the subject of an inquiry by the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation -- was a convenient coverup for a power grab.

“This isn’t about a Taser,” she told the paper. This is about forcing this village to lose its police force."

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