“At the hospital, police made jokes about the teenager and threatened to have her committed to a mental hospital.”
A lawsuit filed this month by an Etowah County woman alleges that police officers from Rainbow City repeatedly fired Tasers at her and her teenage daughter at a concert while the daughter was suffering from grand mal seizures.
The 32-page lawsuit, filed July 9 in U.S. District Court, accuses at least five Rainbow City officers and three Gadsden officers who were allegedly handling security for a Jan. 16 hip-hop concert of excessive force, torture “and other cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment.” It also names Rainbow City Police Chief Greg Carroll and Center Stage, the entertainment venue where the suit alleges the incident took place.
The woman and her daughter seek damages for pain, emotional distress, medical expenses, punitive damages and attorney’s fees.
Gregory Harp, attorney for the plaintiffs, said the lawsuit speaks for itself.
“A Taser was used three times on a child’s chest, during a medical emergency, while she was pinned to the ground by officers,” he said. “Other officers present at the scene failed to intervene. Her mother was knocked to the ground, handcuffed, and then she herself Tased and arrested.”
Gadsden City Attorney Lee Roberts said he had no comment as he has not seen the suit. A message left for Center Stage was not returned. Rainbow City Attorney Jim Turnbach said he had not seen the lawsuit, but said it would be “vigorously defended.”
According to the lawsuit, the incident happened at a Jan. 16 concert for hip-hop artist Kevin Gates at Center Stage. Earlier that day, the teenager suffered a grand mal seizure at her high school and was treated there but not taken to a hospital.
The suit states that the teenager, as the result of an accident, suffers from a medical condition that brings on the seizures causing her to lose consciousness, experience muscle contractions and “sometimes exhibit loud vocalizations caused by the forceful exhalation of air from her lungs.” Grand mal seizures are caused by abnormal electrical activity in the brain, according to the Mayo Clinic.