Police in Oklahoma Tasered an 86-year-old bedridden woman after she “took an aggressive posture in her bed,” causing ten officers to fear for their lives, according to a lawsuit.
The El Reno officers also stepped on Lona Varner’s oxygen hose, causing the elderly woman to suffer oxygen deprivation, states the lawsuit, which was filed this week in Oklahoma Federal Court.
However, the lawsuit does not mention that she allegedly threatened the officers with a knife.
According to the police report, Varner “took an aggressive posture in her bed and raised the knife above her head and said, ‘if you come any closer you’re getting the knife.’”
According to the lawsuit:
A severe winter storm was moving into the area and Ms. Varner’s grandson, Lonnie D. Tinsley, came to the apartment to check on her at the request of his father, now deceased; because
Lona Varner is 86 years-old and in marginal health, she takes several prescribed medications daily; Lonnie’s grandmother was unable to tell him exactly when she had taken her meds, he was
concerned and called 911 to ask for an emergency medical technician to come to her apartment to evaluate her.
As many as ten El Reno police, John Does Nos. 1 – 10, including Thomas Duran, Frank Tinga, and Joseph Sandberg, came to the apartment and pushed their way through the door. Ms. Varner told them to get out of her apartment. Instead, the apparent leader of the police (Duran) instructed another policeman to “Taser her!” He stated in his report that the 86 year-old plaintiff “took a more aggressive posture in her bed,” and that he was fearful for his safety and the safety of others.
Her grandson, Lonnie Tinsley, cried out, “Don’t tase my granny!”, which prompted the officers to threaten him with the taser gun instead.
They ended up handcuffing and throwing him in back of a squad car before proceeding to Taser his grandmother.
Then they grabbed her forearms, causing her skin to tear, and slapped handcuffs on her.
They transported her to the hospital where she was treated for taser burns to her chest as well as the bleeding wounds on her arms.
The officers ordered her placed in the psychiatric ward where she remained for six days.
It is not clear from the lawsuit what charges, if any, were filed against her.