INDEPENDENCE, Mo. (AP) — The FBI is investigating after a police officer in suburban Kansas City, Missouri, used a stun gun to subdue a 17-year-old during a traffic stop, leaving him hospitalized in critical condition.
An Independence police officer used the stun gun on Bryce Masters of Independence Sunday afternoon after stopping a car Masters was driving because it had a warrant attached to it, police said in a statement.
The officer, identified by the police department as Tim Runnels, has been placed on administrative leave.
Police said in the statement that Masters became uncooperative and physically resisted getting out of the car, prompting Runnels to warn Masters he would use a stun gun. Police said the stun gun was used on Masters while he was still in the car but he was able to get
out of the car on his own.
The confrontation continued outside the car and both Masters and Runnels fell to the ground. Masters then suffered a “medical emergency” and needed resuscitation, prompting a call for an ambulance, police said.
The FBI’s Kansas City office will investigate whether Runnels used excessive force, which falls under the bureau’s civil rights program, the FBI said in a statement. Independence police pledged to cooperate with the investigation.
Masters is the son of a Kansas City police officer.
“We would conduct a thorough investigation, regardless of who the parents are,” Independence police Maj. Paul Thurman said.
The family issued a statement Monday asking that the U.S. Department of Justice investigate the confrontation “because of significant inconsistencies between public statements made by the Independence Police Department and information made available to the family in the form of statements of eyewitnesses and video and audio footage of the occurrence.”
The family’s attorney, Daniel J. Haus, said they would have no further comment until the federal investigation is complete.
The Kansas City Star reported that witnesses contended the officer became frustrated because Masters would not roll down his window, but Masters told him the window was malfunctioning.
“Several times, the cop put his foot on the kid like he was stepping on his neck, but it was on his back,” said Robert Baker, who lives nearby. “I think (the officer) was wrong, because the kid tried to explain to him that his window won’t roll down.”
Others said that Masters, who was in the neighborhood to visit a classmate, did not resist when he was pulled over.
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