UPDATE: Lawsuit settled after 60-year-old woman tased in jail - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

UPDATE: Lawsuit settled after 60-year-old woman tased in jail

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CHATTANOOGA, TN (WRCB) -

UPDATE: The Hamilton County Commission unanimously approved a settlement in the lawsuit filed by a 60-year-old woman who was tased while in the custody of a Hamilton County Sheriff's sergeant in 2015.

Nancy Mason settlement was for $25,000 and her outstanding medical bills. 

Attorney Robin Flores tells Channel 3 that the county did not pay for Mason's treatment after the incident.


PREVIOUS STORY: A Hamilton County Sheriff's sergeant went too far when he tased a 60-year-old woman.

That's according to the findings of an internal affairs investigation.

Nancy Mason, 60, pleaded guilty to stealing from a store at the mall in March. She was arrested and was in the process of being booked in the Hamilton County Jail when she was tased. She fell to the ground and broke her arm in three different places.

Channel 3 obtained the video from the tasing incident, the internal affairs report and audio recordings with everyone involved. 

Mason was surrounded by seven officers and refused to take off her earrings which are not allowed in jail. She had already been pat down but she says she was frustrated and didn't want to be there. After repeatedly asking her to remove her earrings, Sergeant Rodney Terrell resorted to use of force and deployed his taser.

"I told her what was gonna uh that she was gonna be tased if she didn't comply with, with being able to be searched and I tased her," Terrell said in a May interview with Internal Affairs.

Mason screamed as she fell to the floor. After the taser's five-second deployment was up, Mason uttered "you broke my arm." Terrell can be heard responding, "I didn't break your arm, you broke it."

"I hope no one ever goes through what I went through," she said in an exclusive interview with Channel 3. 

Mason was then taken to the hospital where she was given x-rays and a cast before being taken back to jail for her mug shot.

That was back in March. Now five months later, she's getting ready for surgery on her right arm that doctors call "deformed."

"To this day if I see a policeman, do you know what it does to me? I just stiffen up. And don't even get near me! Because then I'm afraid of you," she said.

Several of the officials interviewed, including Terrell, said they felt use of force was necessary. Others say it violated policy.

"Yeah honestly, the whole taser discharge was not according to training," said Det. Roger Brown.

The Internal Affairs investigation concluded three things:

  1. Mrs. Mason was not complying with the orders given to her to remove all of her jewelry which is necessary as prescribed in the intake post order.
  2. Mrs. Mason was not a physical threat; she was just not compliant with the verbal commands.
  3. In looking at the totality of the circumstances and what a reasonable officer would deem necessary to gain compliance with the least amount of force necessary, the deployment of the less-lethal Taser device was inappropriate in this event. Terrell received a written reprimand from the sheriff. 

If you have a story you want the Channel 3 investigative team to know about email newstips@wrcbtv.com. Your tip can remain confidential.

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