Watch: Mom tased during routine traffic stop; cop abandons her kids
By David Edwards and Daniel Tencer
Published: August 14, 2009
Updated 2 days ago
A police officer in the Syracuse, New York, area Tasered a 37-year-old mom repeatedly in front of her children during a routine traffic stop—and then arrested the mom, leaving the children alone in their family minivan for 40 minutes in freezing weather.
The incident took place in Onondaga County, New York, on January 31, but dashcam video of the incident only recently came to light. According to a report at syracuse.com, what started out as a routine traffic stop “escalated quickly” when 37-year-old Audra Harmon challenged officer Sean Andrews’ assertion that she had been talking on her cell phone when he pulled her over. Harmon disputed that fact, as well as the officer’s claim that she had been speeding—doing 50 mph in a 45 zone.
An article at MSNBC.com describes the situation:
Harmon had been driving home with her 15-year-old son, whom she had just picked up from wrestling practice, and 5-year-old daughter. She said she was resting her right hand on her cheek as she pulled behind a sheriff’s deputy to make a right turn onto the road where she lived. After she made the turn, the deputy pulled off the road to let her pass, then pulled out behind her with his lights flashing and siren blaring.
When Harmon got out of her minivan to show Officer Andrews that she wasn’t in possession of a cell phone, and to ask to see video footage of her allegedly talking on the cell phone she didn’t possess, the officer ordered her to get back in her car.
“And then he pulled out his taser and said I’m under arrest,” Harmon said. “I got back in the car and he said he wanted me back out of the car now. And I said ‘Why am I under arrest?’ … He then yanked me out of the car … pulled his taser out and the first shot jolted me…” According to Syracuse.com, “Harmon was charged with disorderly conduct, resisting arrest and going 50 in a 45 mph zone. The district attorney’s office dismissed the charges a month later—after watching the videotape, said her lawyer, Terrance Hoffmann.” Amazingly, the officer had justified Harmon’s arrest by saying she had obstructed traffic by getting out of her minivan.
As MSNBC points out, when Harmon was arrested, her children, aged five and 15, were left by the side of the road for forty minutes. Harmon is suing the Onondaga County sheriff’s office. Officer Andrews has been taken off street patrol and “reassigned” until an internal affairs investigation is completed, the sheriff’s office said.
This video is from Syracuse.com, posted to the Web Aug. 13, 2009. CLICK HERE TO WATCH VIDEO