Ricky Jones, a 19-year-old diabetic patient, was involved in a traffic accident in the city of Cleburne in April this year, after going into hypoglycemic shock when his blood sugar dropped dangerously low.
Deputy Dill of the Cleburne Country Sheriff's department responded to the accident, and ordered Jones to exit his car.
When Jones was unresponsive (due to the fact that he was suffering hypoglycemic shock), Dill assumed he was just being uncooperative.
Dill said, “Do you understand that I’m talking to you? Answer my question. What’s the matter with you?”
In the CBS video footage above, it shows that the deputy did not investigate further but merely asked for Jones’ license and insurance. When met with silence, he issued him a warning: “Step out of the vehicle. Or I will tase you!”
23 second later, Jones was fired at, twice.
After an ambulance arrived, the officer can be heard shouting, “I didn't know he was freakin’ diabetic!”
Attorney Jerry Murad tells CBS, “Instead of getting medical treatment, he was shot by a taser.”
Fortunately Jones survived the incident, but things could have been so much worse if paramedics had not been called to the scene.
Murad said that the deputy’s actions were “an error in judgment.” He told the US District Court for the Northern District of Texas, Dallas Division, that the police officer “had not been properly trained by his employer, the city of Cleburne, in how to recognize these symptoms attributable to a person in a hypoglycemic state as a result of Type I diabetes.”
“In fact,” Murad added, the incident report files by police makes it clear that the officer was not even aware of the symptoms of hypoglycemia. “To the contrary, he was looking for a fruity odor from the plaintiff, which is not a symptom of hypoglycemia.”
Jones could have sued for some pretty hefty compensation, but according to his attorney, “it’s not about the money.”
Murad said that Jones ended up settling for around $5,000, but now cops will have to learn from the one officer’s mistake. As a condition of the settlement, all Cleburne Police Department employees will have to watch a 20 minute film from the American Diabetes Association called “Treating Diabetes Emergencies: What Police Officers Need to Know.”
“What excites me is the training requirement part, which I think can do some good,” Murad said. “The objection was not to go after anyone, but officers really need to know about diabetes and [CPD] could be a tremendous asset if they realize they made a mistake and learned from the experience. There’s been too many Taser incidents throughout the country.”