Teen critical from stun gun; FBI investigates case

AP News
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Posted: Sep 16, 2014 7:58 PM
Teen critical from stun gun; FBI investigates case

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Doctors were trying Tuesday to awaken a suburban Kansas City teenager who was put in a medically induced coma after a police officer critically injured him with a stun gun in an incident the FBI is investigating.

Bryce Masters, 17, of Independence, is being treated for a lack of oxygen to the brain that occurred when his heart stopped after he was shocked Sunday afternoon, his family said Tuesday in a statement released through their attorney, Daniel Haus.

Haus said the family contacted the FBI's Kansas City office, which is now looking into whether excessive force was used during the traffic stop. Masters' father is a Kansas City police officer, but FBI spokeswoman Bridget Patton said Tuesday that the case isn't being given special treatment because of that.

She said the FBI looks into all allegations of excessive force by a law enforcement officer that are brought to its attention.

In a statement Monday asking the U.S. Department of Justice to investigate the matter, the family said it was "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."

Masters was pulled over because of a warrant attached to the license plate of the car he was driving, Independence police said. The vehicle did not belong to Masters, and there was no warrant out for him, police spokesman Tom Gentry said.

During the stop, Masters became uncooperative and physically resisted getting out of the car as Officer Tim Runnels had demanded, police said. At that time, the officer used the stun gun on the teen, they said.

The confrontation continued outside the car, with both Masters and Runnels falling to the ground. The teen then suffered a "medical emergency" and needed resuscitation, which prompted a call for an ambulance, police said.

Masters' family said the probes from the stun gun struck him about 6 inches apart "in close proximity to his heart."

The teen was put in a medically induced coma, the family said, and efforts began Monday night to bring him out of it. The family said it is guardedly optimistic, though it's too early to know the long-term effect of his injuries.

In its statement, the family stressed that the teen was not being treated for head trauma related to a fall or being struck. Witnesses told police they saw the officer drop Masters on the concrete, causing him to hit his head.

Runnels has been placed on administrative leave while Independence police investigate.