Cop repeatedly shocks handcuffed man with Taser after arrest at Washington Park strip club
A bleeding, 35-year-old Missouri man was shocked with a Taser while both his hands were handcuffed to a chain at the Washington Park Police Department, according to a settlement of a civil rights lawsuit against the village seeking at least $100,000 in damages.
The settlement in federal court in East St. Louis was filed on Dec. 2 and will become final 60 days from that date. No exact damages amount was listed.
Yancy Carden, of Sikeston, filed suit against former Washington Park officer James Boyd and the village in connection to his April 11 arrest at the nearby Club Hollywood in a dispute over a $200 bar bill.
According to a legal complaint, Boyd and another village police officer who was not named, arrested Yancy Carden and his wife Kelli, and during the process, Yancy Carden was shocked with a Taser while he was handcuffed in a police car. On a police station videotape recorded minutes afterward at the station, Carden appeared to be intoxicated and was bleeding from a facial cut. He was shown handcuffed to a chain. He asked for medical treatment.
The videotape that was evidence in the lawsuit was obtained by the News-Democrat and showed that Yancy Carden was verbally abusive and had been kicking at a panel-covered concrete wall while handcuffed to the chain when Boyd confronted him, telling him to stop and when he stopped briefly Boyd said repeatedly, “Do it again.” When Carden moved, as if to start kicking, Boyd then appeared to Taser the restrained Carden, who collapsed back onto a metal bench, his arms outspread as far as the chains could be extended. His wife could be heard yelling for Boyd not to hurt her husband.
At one point in the raucous setting, Kelli Carden shouted to her husband, “This is what (bleeping) happens. I’m chained to a (bleeping) wall because I (bleeping) love you.”
The next morning, former village police sergeant Kevin McAfee viewed the videotape at Boyd’s request. He then wrote a “Supplemental Offense Report” against his fellow officer Boyd, stating, “I request a review of the incident, and disciplinary action given as needed.”
Upon observing the video it was disturbing to observe Officer Boyd use his Taser on a detainee who was handcuffed and no threat to himself or the officer.
Kevin McAfee, former village police sergeant says in a supplemental offense report
In the request, McAfee wrote, “Upon observing the video it was disturbing to observe Officer Boyd use his Taser on a detainee who was handcuffed and no threat to himself or the officer.”
McAfee, who declined to comment for this article and testified in a deposition in the federal civil case, contended in his request that Boyd’s action be compared to written policy regarding handcuffed suspects outlined in the Metro East Police District Policy Manual.
In the deposition, McAfee testified he watched the videotape showing Carden and Boyd. According to the deposition, McAfee said, “And when I seen that the gentleman had been handcuffed, both hands handcuffed, and then he shows me where there was a verbal conflict or whatever — the guy made several outbursts, and then he walks in and scolds him and hits him with a Taser. And that was just a no-no. This guy wasn’t a threat to the officer, himself, or no one in the room.”
Aubrey Keller, who was chief of the department at the time of Carden’s arrest, said he was never questioned in connection to the incident. He said Boyd left to find other employment and was not disciplined in the matter. Boyd could not be reached for comment.
St. Clair County State’s Attorney Brendan Kelly said his office received the case for review of criminal charges against Boyd, but declined to prosecute even though Carden had been shocked with a Taser while chained.
Carden was charged with a felony count of damaging government property and a misdemeanor battery count and pleaded guilty in both cases. He was given probation and ordered to pay a fine and court costs.
The legal standard in a potential criminal case is different than the standard in a civil case such as a civil rights complaint.
St. Clair County State’s Attorney Brendan Kelly says on not charging former Washington Park officer James Boyd
Asked why the officer was not charged with using excessive force, especially when a video of what transpired existed, Kelly said, “The legal standard in a potential criminal case is different than the standard in a civil case such as a civil rights complaint.” He cited an Illinois statute that states that “a person is justified in the use of force against another,” to protect the person from trespassing or “interference with either real property other than a dwelling or personal property.”
During his tenure since 2010, Kelly’s office has charged 12 police officers with crimes. “If I have evidence of a crime, I’ll charge them.”
The federal lawsuit complaint states that jailers at the St. Clair County Jail would not accept Carden as a prisoner after he was brought there on the night of his arrest by Boyd, until he had been examined at St. Elizabeth’s Hospital in Belleville where he was taken and, “...treated for the injuries resulting from the Tasering.”
“The repeated Tasering of Carden was a use of excessive force in violation of the Fourth Amendment of the Constitution,” and federal law, the lawsuit complaint contended.
The lawsuit asked for at least $100,000 to compensate Carden for, “injuries and damages (to his) nervous system, bones, ligaments, tendons and muscles from the Tasering,” as well as “emotional distress.”
The lawsuit also alleged, “Washington Park has a usage, custom or policy of using Tasers excessively against members of the public who were arrested or detained.”
In a response, St. Louis attorney Anthony G. Grice, who represented the village, denied the allegations.
David Duree, an O’Fallon attorney who represented Carden, declined to comment.