The Greenville City, South Carolina Police Department claims Tairo Anderson refused to listen when officers asked him to stop three times following reports of gunshots in the area in the late hours of Christmas Eve.
Anderson, at the time he was stopped, was guilty of nothing more severe than “walking while black,” but police considered him such a threat that a taser was a necessity.
“When they put their spotlight on him, he immediately put his head down, put his hands in his pockets and began to walk away from him,” Greenville Police Officer Johnathan Bragg said. “They then got out of the vehicle and approached him and ordered him to stop at which point he did flee from the officers and they pursued him.”
Police stopped the fleeing 6’8” Anderson with 50,000 volts of justice. However, Carolyn Anderson, the mother of the tasering victim, says her son was severely autistic and likely did not understand the officers’ commands. The elder Anderson says that both her son’s arrest, and the tasering, were entirely unnecessary.
“Tario can say yes or no, he might ask for a thing or two, but just verbal, no,” Ms. Anderson said. She explained that her son regularly walks to relatives’ homes on the same street. When neighbors notified her her son was the recipient of a taser attack, she says she was not permitted near Tairo.
“If you had seen my baby was out there, laying on that sidewalk and every time he reached for me, I reached for him- [they’d say] “Get back, we gonna Tase you”,” Anderson’s mother said. “I was trying to make them take me to jail. I curse everything, ‘Take me! I’m the one causing trouble! Take me. He’s not doing nothing.’ No matter what I said, it didn’t make no difference to them.”
Tairo Anderson was arrested after paramedics treated him on scene. He was charged with interfering with police work and resisting arrest.
“Interfering? Resisting? It’s against the law to take off running? I still don’t understand. I really don’t,” Anderson’s mother said. “I say if you hear gunshots, are you going to stand there and wait to see if the bullet hit you or are you getting out the way?”
Bragg says that officers were unaware of any handicap, and that the man was arrested for breaking the law by running.
“From what he did, he did break the law so in any case like that, we do go ahead and arrest them and make the charges and we’re not deemed certified to declare anyone as mentally ill or with a disease or anything like that so we don’t technically know if he is,” Bragg said.
A statement released by Gragg read, in part:
Officers used a Taser to secure Anderson. We are conducting an investigation into the claim of excessive force by Anderson’s mother, and it would not be appropriate to address all of her claims at this time. I also think that we should reinforce the need for members of the public to be cooperative with police when stopped and ask to see or speak with a supervisor if they feel mistreated in any way. It is our goal to effectively police our city with the full cooperation of the public we serve and we regret all incidents where force must be used to faithfully perform our duties.
Watch a report on the tasering below, via WYFF:[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LEE_RDNZPkI?rel=0&showinfo=0&w=640&h=360]