Skip to comments.Police use taser on deaf woman
Posted on 08/06/2012 6:18:41 PM PDT by mom4kittys
KIRO TVs investigative unit has discovered Tacoma police used force to arrest and handcuff an innocent deaf woman after she called 911 for their help.
Instead of an apology, she ended up bloody and in jail for nearly three days without an interpreter before a prosecutor declined to press charges.
After months of digging, investigative reporter Chris Halsne found significant discrepancies in the official police version of events leading up to Lashonn Whites arrest.
Late in the evening on April 6, White said she called for police assistance after a guest reportedly attacked her in her own apartment.
Deaf since birth, White used a special video-equipped phone, connected to a TV and a Web camera, to call 911. A certified American Sign Language interpreter on the other end verbally relayed Whites pleas for help to a Tacoma police dispatcher.
I said, Please hurry! Theres a person here beating me up, White explained to Halsne during a television interview last month.
A recording of Whites 911 call from that evening reveals her urgency.
Right now! This is serious!
Shes fighting at me, then she chokes me. Shes coming right at me!
Computer-aided dispatch (CAD) logs show Tacoma police officer Ryan Koskovich and his partner, Michael Young, were outside Whites apartment complex in about six minutes.
It also reflects that officers received texts along the way stating, Person doing the hitting is a Sophia and Vict. is Lashonn White.
In addition, it appears from internal police records obtained by KIRO Team 7 Investigators, Koskovich and his partner were repeatedly given information that the victim could not hear a thing.
On the 911 calls, White herself made it perfectly clear.
Im deaf. I cant hear if theyre out front knocking or whatever I cantare they going to the front or back? Where are the police at?
Dispatch: They want her to go outside the front door.
Oh, theyre here? Okay, Im on my way to meet them. Im going right now.
White showed our investigative team the route up to the front door from her basement apartment. Its only one flight of stairs -- a 30-second trip.
To her, what happened next defies common sense -- especially, for a woman with no criminal record, no arrests and just one minor driving violation on her record.
Within seconds of running outside to meet police, Officer Koskovich pulled his Taser and fired a two-barbed electric wire into Whites ribs and stomach.
All Im doing is waving my hands in the air, and the next thing I know, Im on the ground and then handcuffed. It was almost like I blacked out. I was so dizzy and disoriented, White said.
Witnesses said White began bleeding heavily from her knuckles and the right side of her face swelled up immediately after she hit the pavement following the Taser jolt.
Pictures acquired by Team 7 Investigators also show injuries to her cheek, chin, ribs, neck and arms.
Worse yet to White was the incredible confusion that came with suddenly being handcuffed, under arrest and without the ability to communicate with Tacoma officers, who had no sign language skills.
The next thing I know, they took me to jail. Told me to stand up, youre going to jail. I said, What? What have I done? I couldnt figure it out. I had no idea what was going on, said White.
Officer Koskovich and his partner submitted nearly identical descriptions of the arrest in their reports.
Koskovich wrote in part: "I yelled for White to 'stop' and held my right hand up to signal for White to stop. White ignored my commands.
He added, "White was making a loud grunting noise, had a piercing stare in her eyes and had a clenched right fist in the air."
Team 7 Investigators canvassed the area near the Taser incident for witnesses because Koskovich and Whites stories are so vastly different.
Margaret Simss apartment is right over the spot where White fell to the ground after being tased. She said it was around 11:30 at night and dark, but she heard Lashonn screaming in pain and ran to the balcony.
I hollered down and said, Shes deaf and cant speak!
Sims says she went down to the street and spoke with officers while Lashonn was still in handcuffs. She told us during an on-camera interview that the police officers at the scene admitted there was a misunderstanding.
They had tased her because he thought she was coming at him, but what she was doing was running to him. But he said, stop and he didnt put his hand up. He just said, stop and she couldnt understand that, replied Sims.
Another apartment tenant, Geraldine Warren, said she also heard the commotion and talked to police.
They just told her to halt. She kept running, she cant hearshes deaf. I said, Arent you supposed to say halt like that? asked Warren holding up her right hand.
Tacoma police arrested Lashonn on two criminal charges, simple assault and obstruction of a public servant (law enforcement officer). Then they carted her off to jail. She spent 60 hours there also without an interpreter- before a city prosecutor reviewed her case and asked that charges not be filed at all.
We asked KIRO TV police conduct consultant and former Bellevue police chief Don Van Blaricom to review the conflicting witness and officer accounts of Lashonns arrest, plus the officers official reports.
He told Halsne the officers reports were obviously written in concert, after the fact, to CYA.
The question to ask yourself is: why would she run at police in an assaultive manner when she had asked for them to be there and was going out to meet them? Van Blaricom wondered aloud.
A Taser is a very useful device under circumstances which necessitate its use, but its too easy to use and frequently used too quickly. This looks like one of those cases, Van Blaricom told Halsne during an interview.
State law on the employment of ASL interpreters for deaf suspects is clear.
RCW 2.42.120 (4)requires law enforcement agencies conducting an investigation to appoint and pay for a qualified interpreter throughout the investigation.
RCW 2.42.120 (5) states If a hearing impaired person is arrested for an alleged violation of a criminal law, the arresting officer or the officers supervisor shall, at the earliest possible time, procure and arrange payment for a qualified interpreter for any notification of rights, warning, interrogation, or taking of a statement. No employee of the law enforcement agency who has responsibilities other than interpreting may be appointed as a qualified interpreter.
White said despite her repeated requests to police for a certified ASL interpreter, one was never provided.
The story is complex and the officers at the scene clearly had a different point of view. KIRO 7 Investigators have tried to get their explanation for six weeks and while we've talked to Tacoma Police on the phone they would not respond to the allegations. We've also sent them emails and left several messages.
If Tacoma police want to explain their side of the story, we'll have a follow-up.
If she would have had a service dog, they probably would have shot it.
She should’ve worn a burqa and none of this would’ve happened.
This story, if accurate, and I have no reason to believe it
isn’t is beyond words. What can one say in regards to this level of abuse that would be cogent or meaningful.
The only appropriate response I can think of involves rope and a tree. We as citizens can no longer allow these thugs
to continue to operate with impunity. The system has been
corrupted and perverted to where these monsters never need
fear being held accountable by the courts. Therefore it’s time they were called to task and punished outside of the
It’s NOT a complex story. It’s simple: police officer assault, tase and severely injure a deaf woman, then try to cover it up. Very simple.
Please let’s not be too hasty with adjudication of anything.
Look at the article and the woman, and then let’s ask ourselves why we’re just hearing about this now, a month later?
It would appear that she’s got multiple witnesses, and proof that an interpreter was not provided to her throughout her stay in jail. She needs to sue the PD, and the officers need to be fired for covering up their gross error in responding to this call. The taser shot is bad enough, but could possibly be understood as them thinking it may be necessary to protect themselves. The way in which she was handled after the fact that it became clear (within minutes) that she was the deaf victim and not the perpetrator is obscene.
Did they ever even bother to actually attempt catch the person who she called them to get? There is no mention of that... So, they took the victim to jail, and apparently the suspected assaulter got away???
Fear the cops more than the criminals
At the very least, the 3 days in jail with no interpreter is true and is inexcusable.
Silver lining: she didn’t her it go off!
Because the police were covering it up and the journalist had to investigate to uncover the story.
“This story, if accurate, and I have no reason to believe it
isnt is beyond words.”
Big Media likes to foment with half truths and lies all the time.
They’ve gone to a lot of trouble to publish an emotion-inducing article A MONTH LATER without making it about race.
Kind of interesting for Big Media. Also kind of interesting that it was covered up so well for a month.
Why should we EVER be willing to believe ANYTHING from Big Media simply because we “have no reason to believe it
So, they took the victim to jail, and apparently the suspected assaulter got away???
Sure looks like it.
Few situations cannot be made worse via the addition of police. Reason number 867 why a gun is better than 911.
I can’t hear you!
The true violation of the law, as seen by Super Trooper: “White ignored my commands.”
If this woman’s story is 1/4 accurate, this LEA is going to lose quite a bit of $$$ in a lawsuit...more if her story is 100% accurate...even more if the Civil Rights people campaign for her
“Those who are kind to the cruel are soon cruel to the kind...”
Fast & Furious —> This
Somebody needs to listen to their radio communications while they are responding.
It might not hurt if a grown man in a cop uniform and armed wasn’t so frightened of a woman running toward him he had to shoot her with a taser.
NOPE, YOU’RE ALL WRONG WITH THE IMPLICATIONS AND ACCUSATIONS.
All I’m saying is that Big Media likes to foment, and it’s VERY INTERESTING that Racist Big Media is not saying anything about race and made nothing of it in the article.
I’m asking the big WHY — why didn’t this media play the race card?
I didn’t even say or imply she did anything to deserve it.
Wow, such savagery..... I DID read the article before posting.
Your personal condescension was really offensive.
And she would have the advantage of not flinching because of muzzle blast. I am not making a joke.
It does seem a little like the keystone cops in this area.
Just off the top of my head, I remember Seattle cops tasering a diabetic woman who had passed out at the wheel of her car while stopped at a stop sign.
Then there was the homeless, psychotic man who had climbed a tree in Bremerton. A cop was going for her taser to bring him down and instead, accidentally grabbed her .38 and shot him in the leg.
Apparently he didn’t have a dog.
“Fear the cops more than the criminals”
Yeah, in an earlier post on police misconduct someone said that we need to separate the decent cops from the scum. Well pal, here you are, more scum masquerading as LEO’s. This isn’t going to stop until some of these cretins with badges do some jail time for acts like this! But you watch, the City of Tacoma will try to whitewash this matter and the police chief will act like nothing out of the ordinary happened. Maybe liberating a couple of million bucks from the City of Tacoma will get the voters attention. Then again, maybe not!
The sad fact is that the police chief may be right.
Apparently I’m not the only one who misinterpreted your statement. Shouldn’t we be HAPPY that they did not make a big deal of the color of her skin? Isn’t that the kind of reporting we WANT?
As for insinuating you may be racist in your attitude I apologize — unfortunately it’s so commonplace nowadays for people “on the right” to be accused of bigotry that statements which are unclear, of the sort you posted, only feeds into the hysteria. In my personal experience, even here at FR unfortunately there are a lot of comments that end up being thinly veiled - many of which I think are posted not by “true Freepers”, but by agent provocateurs.
As for my condescension towards you, I apologize that I offended you. I have no tolerance for true “racist” bigots, so I tend to treat them with the same disrespect as they show others. In this case, I was obviously wrong. In the future, it might be a good idea to be a little more clear with what you’re trying to convey.
Go back and read your first post. I found it confusing and thought LR was right to ask what the hell you were saying.
Although he was a little more gracious than I was.
Please note: I was responding to post #18 of yours, and not the explanation you gave later on the thread. Otherwise, I wouldn’t have said what I did.
“Isnt that the kind of reporting we WANT?”
Yes, but since I never trust the media, I want to know why they suddenly went silent on this.
Apology accepted, thank you.
Thanks... I appreciate it. I was beginning to think it was time for me to stop reading and posting today! [Oh, and I’m a “she” - just for future reference. LOL]
Story says she ran at the cops with her arms waving. They though she was about to attack them.
Tacoma’s finest in action, proving their worth.
Who was fighting with her and choking her?
Why was this other person in the apartment?
How was she able to communicate through her special equipment (visual apparently) without interference from this other person?
Would not the other person be visible to the responding location if they were attacking and choking her?
Were any of her injuries possibly from this other person?
Did the police try to locate this other person?
Did the police take this other person into custody?
Did the police reports talk about this other person in any way, such as name, address, relationship, reason for being in the basement apartment?
How did she get up the single flight of stairs so easily without interference from this other person?
Unless I completely missed something, this story seems to be missing a huge amount of information concerning who, what, when, where and why this incident started and this other person just sort of vanishes without explanation?
I'll be interested in additional/followup information if it becomes available.
Two male cops thought a woman was going to attack them? With her waving arms?
Good thing she didn't start barking like a dog.
She says she went over and talked to officers, whom she says admitted confusion, claiming they thought White was coming at them, fist clenched, not running to them for help.
So, from that it looks like the cops thought she was going to attack them.
Some poster said this story is over a month old and why now is it in Seattle news?
Yeah, I've heard that many times...About peoples pets too.
Two fully trained, fully armed male cops and an unarmed woman waving her arms or making a fist...Electrocute the hag!
She's lucky she wasn't using cane to walk...She'd be in the morgue.
My advise is to avoid calling the local government for help, it at all possible. No joke.
At its most fundamental level, police do not work for the citizenry; they work for government; local, state or feral (spelling intentional). As a group, they protect themselves first and foremost. As a group, they protect those who hired them and sign their paychecks next.
Where it still exists, "to serve and to protect" needs to be painted over.
Yes, I know there are still some good ones, but you can't tell the difference by looking.
Anybody or any animal approaching a cop in any manner other than in submission will be shot. Period.
So tell me, why do they carry batons and pepper spray etc?
You're comments are a joke. No offense.
Why don't cops shoot everyone at those at violent protests, throwing crap at them, as they approach in a threatening manner?
You should stay away from crime threads.
“Yeah, in an earlier post on police misconduct someone said that we need to separate the decent cops from the scum.”
Comes from poor training. Seems in some cities anyone can slip through the police academy these days regardless of how poorly qualified they are.
Oh, my apologies...Ya just never know anymore.
It’s not what you know but who you know. You can have the IQ of a gnat and still get a city or county job if you know the right people. That doesn’t have any effect on the quality of the product or service though ( /sarc)