Mt. Vernon Register-News

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July 16, 2009

Lawsuit filed against sheriff, deputies

By TESA CULLI

tesa.culli@register-news.com

MT. VERNON — A federal lawsuit has been filed claiming that two Jefferson County deputies tased three children numerous times and assaulted another last year at the Southern 30 Adolescent Center.

The lawsuit was filed by the guardian of the four, who are identified as B.B., R.E., Z.P. and Megan Geisler, who is a foster child that does not live at the center. The lawsuit names Jefferson County, Jefferson County Sheriff Roger Mulch and Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office Deputies David Bowers and Lonnie Lawler as the defendants.

The incident allegedly happened on July 4, 2008, when law enforcement was called to help staff at the center control two 12-year-olds and an 11-year old — who are not the defendants — and in the common area of the center “acting out.” The lawsuit specifies the three defendants were not the youth that prompted the call to police, according to the lawsuit.

“Without any physical provocation and/or physical gestures from R.E., Deputy David Bowers physically pushed R.E. towards his bunk and shocked him repeatedly with a taser,” the lawsuit alleges. “R.E. was tased multiple times to multiple locations on his person, including, but not limited to, his neck. Deputy Bowers shouted to B.B. to lie down in his bunk and physically forced him to lie down. Without physical provocation and/or physical gestures from B.B., Deputy Bowers held B.B. down on his bed and shocked him repeatedly with a taser. While he was tasing B.B., Deputy David Bowers threatened to sodomize B.B. As a result of this repeated and excessive tasing, B.B. urinated and defecated himself. Deputy David Bowers was aware that B.B. urinated himself after the tasing.

“Shortly thereafter, Deputy David Bowers and Deputy Lonnie Lawler shouted at Z.P. to sit on the couches in the common room. Z.P. sat on the couches. Without any physical provocation and/or threatening physical gestures from Z.P., Deputy David Bowers ordered Deputy Lonnie Lawler to handcuff Z.P. While Deputy Lonnie Lawler was placing the handcuffs on Z.P., Deputy David Bowers began to shock him repeatedly with the taser. Z.P.was tased multiple times to multiple locations on his person.

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