A police officer who used a stun gun on an unruly 10-year-old girl after he said her mother gave him permission has been suspended _ not for using the Taser but for not having a video camera attached when he used it.
Mayor Vernon McDaniel said officer Dustin Bradshaw was suspended Wednesday for seven days with pay. McDaniel said the suspension is for not following department procedures because he didn't have the camera on.
McDaniel wants Arkansas State Police or the FBI to look into whether the use of the Taser was proper. The girl, who hasn't been identified, wasn't injured and is now at the Western Arkansas Youth Shelter in Cecil.
Police were called to the home Nov. 11 after the girl's mother couldn't get her to take a shower.
Bradshaw's report says the girl was "violently kicking and verbally combative" when Bradshaw tried to take her into custody, and she kicked him in the groin. He said he delivered "a very brief drive stun to her back."
"Her mother told me to tase her if I needed to," Bradshaw wrote.
Kim Brunell, a spokeswoman with the FBI in Little Rock, said her office neither confirms nor denies when it's involved an investigation and declined to comment Wednesday. State police have declined McDaniel's request to investigate.
Police Chief Jim Noggle said Wednesday that Tasers are a safe way to subdue people who are a danger to themselves or others.
"We didn't use the Taser to punish the child _ just to bring the child under control so she wouldn't hurt herself or somebody else," Noggle said.
If the officer tried to forcefully put the girl in handcuffs, he could have accidentally broken her arm or leg, Noggle said.
He said a touch of the stun gun _ "less than a second" _ stopped the girl from being unruly, and she was handcuffed.
"She got up immediately and they put her in the patrol car," McDaniel said.
Noggle said the girl will face disorderly conduct charges as a juvenile in the incident.
The girl's father, Anthony Medlock, told the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette that his daughter has emotional problems, but that she didn't have a weapon and shouldn't have been Tasered.
"My daughter does not deserve to be tased and be treated like an animal," said Medlock, who is divorced from the girl's mother and does not have custody.
Steve Tuttle, a spokesman for Taser International, said it's up to individual law enforcement agencies to decide when Taser use is appropriate.
In some cases, a Taser "presents the safer response to resistance compared with the alternatives such as fists, kicks, baton strikes, bean bag guns, chemical agents, or canine response," Tuttle said in a statement.
The police chief, who has been Tasered twice himself during training sessions, said his department has never had to use a stun gun on a child or elderly person before, but that in some instances, that could be necessary to ensure safety.
"We don't want to do things like this," Noggle said. "This is something we have to do. We're required to maintain order and keep the peace."