McAlester News-Capital, McAlester, OK

September 15, 2012

Woman scarred by MPD Taser

By Jeanne LeFlore
Staff Writer

McALESTER — A woman tasered by a McAlester police officer with her hands cuffed behind her alleges she is still suffering from the damage caused by the Taser blades.

“My chest still hurts when I breathe,” Nakina Williams said Friday during an interview with the McAlester News-Capital in the office of her attorney, Jeremy Beaver.
Williams, 28, is the mother of three children and is employed at a local fast-food restaurant. She said she has bright plans for the future with the help of her tribe, the Choctaw Nation.
 “They are going to pay for me to go to school and help me get a better home for me and children,” she said.
In a June 24 police video which can be viewed at www.mcalesternews.com, Williams, with her hands cuffed and lifted behind her on a counter, appears to spit at McAlester Police Department officer Sterling Taylor during booking at the Pittsburg County Criminal Justice Center.
 The video shows Taylor then firing a Taser at Williams, striking her in her left breast at point-blank range.
Beaver, Williams’ attorney, said an announcement of a possible lawsuit will be made depending on the outcome of the different agencies investigating the case, including Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation and the District  18 District Attorney’s office. On Thursday, Richard Hull first assistant District 18 District Attorney said his office is requesting a recusal from the case by the Oklahoma Attorney General’s office because of the appearance of impropriety. “The DA’s office is currently handling a number of cases involving the McAlester Police Department and Sterling Taylor,” Hull said.
There has been no comment from the OSBI on the case.
On Friday, Williams recounted the events that occured the night of  June 24.
 Williams said she was walking home the night of her arrest and that she had been drinking alcohol. She said was several feet from her house when police came to arrest her.
“I told them I was only three houses from my house and to please just let me go home,” she said.
Instead, she said she was arrested.
“They handcuffed me and I remember crying,” Williams said. “I was afraid they were going to take me to jail and I fell down. One of the officers told me to get up but I couldn’t because I was handcuffed.”
At 4 feet, 11 inches tall, Williams was no danger to Taylor when he fired his Taser at her, according to her attorney Beaver.
After viewing the video Friday, Williams said she was angry about the way she was treated by Taylor. She said knows she was wrong for spitting at him, and that he was wrong for what she said was bullying.
“He was being mean and bullying me,” she said.
 Interactions between Taylor and Williams continued after the Taser was deployed.
According to a Pittsburg County Sheriff’s Department report, “After Taylor shot her (Williams) in the chest, as she was being tased Officer Taylor was shouting out, ‘Are you finished,’ repeatedly. She continued to scream and she (said) she was finished so he took the cartridge out of the gun and dropped it in on the floor ... two female officers came to calm her down ... at that time (McAlester Police Department) Officer Charlie Rodgers (who was with Taylor at the time of the arrest) went over and with one hand pulled out both of the probes.”
The county jail where the incident occurred is part of the county sheriff’s department.
During Friday’s interview, Williams said she has scars on her hands from the handcuffs and on her chest from the probes being pulled out by Rogers.
According to MPD’s Taser handling policy, “The suspect shall be taken to an emergency care facility for removal of the dart in cases where it has ... penetrated the female breast ...”
An MPD “Use of Force Report” written by Taylor after the incident and signed by MPD Capt. David Bailey states: “Subject had spit on officer and was fixing to spit on officer again force was used to stop action,” 
 Taylor was later put on two weeks unpaid suspension for violating police policy on Taser use, according to MPD Chief Jim Lyles. He is now back at work, but is not allowed to use the device used on Williams.
 “Officer Taylor is still suspended from use of the Taser,” Lyles said.
According to court records, Williams was given a 10-year suspended sentence for felony assault and battery on a police officer, public intoxication and expectorating on a police officer. 
For more on this story, see the print or electronic editions of the McAlester News-Capital. Click here for print edition home delivery or click here to see the Smart Edition for your computer, tablet, e-reader or smartphone. Contact Jeanne LeFlore at jleflore@mcalesternews.com.