Lincoln woman sues Mercer officers, j...

Lincoln woman sues Mercer officers, judge over Tazing

Posted in the Harrodsburg Forum

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Todd Kleffman

Nicholasville, KY

#1 Jul 23, 2009
HARRODSBURG — A Lincoln County woman who alleges she was Tazed and otherwise mistreated by Mercer County deputies after suffering a seizure and crashing her SUV has filed a lawsuit over the incident.

Whitney Kareken of Stanford filed the complaint Tuesday in Mercer Circuit Court claiming that Deputy Eric Barkman and other unnamed deputies handcuffed her and used a Tazer on her three times in an effort to get her under control while she was enduring a seizure.

The incident occurred on Aug. 8 alongside U.S. 127 near Carey’s Auto Sales, after Kareken lost control of her Chevy Trailblazer and crashed into a ditch, according to the lawsuit.

Along with Barkman and the unnamed deputies, the lawsuit lists Sheriff Chris Kerht and Judge-Executive John Trisler as defendants. Kareken and her 2-year-old son Layton, who was traveling with her, are the plaintiffs. The lawsuit was filed by Lexington attorney Frank M. Jenkins III.

Kerht said Wednesday that deputies Rick Moberly and Matt Swaby were at the scene that day along with Barkman and other unidentified emergency responders. The incident was investigated by his office and no deputies were disciplined as a result, Kehrt said.

The plaintiffs “have their allegations, but they are not accurate at all,” the sheriff said.“I can’t really say anything else until I’ve talked to our attorney.”

Barry Stilz, a Lexington attorney who is representing the county officials through the Kentucky Association of Counties, said Wednesday he had not yet seen the complaint and declined to comment.

According to the lawsuit, Kareken was heading north through Harrodsburg when she went into a seizure and crashed. Carrie Ann Baratta, a nurse, was traveling by shortly after the crash and stopped to help.

“Ms. Baratta observed Whitney thrashing about, apparently attempting to unbuckle her seat belt, with white foam on the right side of her mouth. Ms. Baratta immediately realized Whitney was still seizing,” the lawsuit states.

Baratta was on the scene for about 10 minutes before an unidentified deputy, not in uniform, arrived and told her to step aside. Baratta advised the deputy that Kareken was in seizure, according to the lawsuit.

Nurse advised deputies about seizure

Barkman and others then arrived and decided to remove Kareken from the vehicle, against the advice of Baratta. Four men placed Kareken on the ground and handcuffed her. Because she was in seizure, Kareken “still thrashed about and tried to escape,” the lawsuit states.

“Just as the paramedics arrived, the attack with the Tazer began,” the lawsuit claims.“While the deputies Tazered Whitney, one held her up in the air, not by her hands, not by her arms, not by her body, but by her handcuffs.

“The officer who Tazered Whitney, and it is unknown at this time which one did, began repeatedly Tazering her on her back, then he went around to the right side of her stomach and then moved the Tazer down her left thigh ...”

When the first shocks did not subdue her, officers used the device two more times before Kareken was taken to the hospital, the lawsuit maintains.

The lawsuit accuses the deputies of intentional battery and outrageous conduct. It claims Kehrt and Trisler are guilty of negligence and violating Kareken’s civil rights for failing to properly train and supervise the deputies.

Kareken seeks an unspecified amount of compensatory and punitive damages for her alleged emotional distress, pain, suffering and need for mental health care.

Since: Apr 08

AOL

#2 Jul 23, 2009
They tased my mentally ill son several months ago. They tased him over 40 times from my understanding. I did see the tase marks and horrendous bruising. They even tased him in the eye. There is photo documentation. I am not sure which cops did it. I do understand that they had no idea if he was high on drugs but they went way overboard. But he just wanted to ask the policemen a question and it escalated. They need more training if they are to be able to do this to people.
As For My Thoughts

Danville, KY

#3 Jul 24, 2009
I do not think police shsould be allowed to use those tazers, PERIOD! Most of the cases you hear where the cops have used them, they have took advantage that the "suspect" is totally defenseless and kept using the damn thing. Or at the very least they should not be allowed to use it on a person but X amount of times, not no damn 3,4,5 and plus. And on a mentally ill person, I would sue the socks off their ass, because that is uncalled for at any circumstance. After one shot, they done pissed the person off, so yeah who isn't gonna fight back. Cops think coz they got a badge, they can do whatever
didyallhear

Danville, KY

#4 Jul 24, 2009
i suggest we give our law enforcement officers nerf guns that shoot those soft foam bullets...that way they can protect themselves, but they can't do any damage.

or, maybe we give them some of those big blow-up bats to whack people around that might pose a threat.
Johnny Boy

Winchester, KY

#5 Jul 24, 2009
How are they suppose to know that someone is mentally ill. And you don't hear about the cases where the tazer is used and used properly. Only the two above that wasn't. We weren't there so that is that.
cow pie

AOL

#6 Jul 24, 2009
perhaps some class room time is needed for the police this is mind blowing and scary to think its mercers finest ha

Since: Jul 08

Harrodsburg Kentucky

#7 Jul 24, 2009
About two months ago I had a guy at my place of work threw a fit in the lobby. He was screaming about being wanted for murder in Colorado. Before the police could arrive, he ran to the business next door. When they finally got there (they were directing school traffic and didn't have time to deal with frivolous matters like a possible murderer), he was trying to run out into 127 and throwing things at cars.

Sheriff Kerht arrived on the scene and tried to get him out of the road. When talking to him would not work, he and an HPD officer took him to the ground in the grassy area outside my workplace. Chris patted and rubbed his back in a gentle, soothing way in an attempt to get him to calm down. He was speaking to him in a calm voice. All the while the guy was struggling. At this point, use of a tazer for everyone's safety would have been justified. Yet there was no use of force from the officers.

Then when Chris gets him in his cruiser, he mule kicks the window out and manages to squirm out of the back seat while Chris is going down the road! Again, he runs out into traffic and is subdued in the median. Rather than stun him with the taser, pepper spray him, or just plain beat him with a baton, Chris gets a yellow nylon rope out of his trunk and hogties him. Yeah that is humiliating but 1) it is better than being tasered or sprayed and 2) you got no reason to be acting like a jackass in the first place.

I don't know what happened to Ms. Kareken because I was not there, but Chris himself demonstrated professionalism and restraint in this particular situation.
just some info

Bardstown, KY

#8 Jul 24, 2009
I agree with you bart on what you said but Chris was not the one that supposedly tased this person he was listed in the claim as their boss. I like the idea of a tazer for certin situations for example 1. The person is running at the officer with a knife. shooting to kill the person is too much in this situation to me tasering would be a good idea. 2. The person is drunk or on drugs and can not be controlled and trying to subdue him or her is not working with any other means. those are examples where i think it is ok or necessary to taser a subject not in the two cases mentioned above.
pizpoor

Mount Sterling, KY

#9 Jul 24, 2009
i think they get a tazor in their hand and that gives the more authority and they can juice someone up and have an 80% chance that the person wont die like if yu was waving a gun around

Since: Jul 08

Harrodsburg Kentucky

#10 Jul 24, 2009
just some info wrote:
I agree with you bart on what you said but Chris was not the one that supposedly tased this person he was listed in the claim as their boss. I like the idea of a tazer for certin situations for example 1. The person is running at the officer with a knife. shooting to kill the person is too much in this situation to me tasering would be a good idea. 2. The person is drunk or on drugs and can not be controlled and trying to subdue him or her is not working with any other means. those are examples where i think it is ok or necessary to taser a subject not in the two cases mentioned above.
I understand that Chris was not involved in the incident, I was just making a point that the department isn't "tazer happy." I have seen video of cops tazering someone just because they are arguing. Rather than it being used for protection, it is being used as punishment. That is not what tazers or pepper spray were made for. If there is a legitimate need to incapacitate someone to keep them from hurting others, or themselves for that matter, then I don't see anything wrong with the use of a tazer.

Look at these two examples.

Example 1: This behavior is outrageous, but does not warrant the use of a tazer.


Example 2: This man decided that he wanted to fight in the courtroom and it was necessary to take him down a notch. Notice how he stops resisting. http://www.youtube.com/watch...

You can assert your rights, but there is no need to act like a jackass just because the cops are there. Now, did Ms. Kareken act like a jackass or was she having a seizure? I don't know. I reserve judgment until all the facts come out.

Since: Jul 08

Harrodsburg Kentucky

#11 Jul 24, 2009
Oh and by the way, both incidents occurred in the same courtroom.

Since: Apr 08

AOL

#12 Jul 24, 2009
Bart McQueary wrote:
About two months ago I had a guy at my place of work threw a fit in the lobby. He was screaming about being wanted for murder in Colorado. Before the police could arrive, he ran to the business next door. When they finally got there (they were directing school traffic and didn't have time to deal with frivolous matters like a possible murderer), he was trying to run out into 127 and throwing things at cars.
Sheriff Kerht arrived on the scene and tried to get him out of the road. When talking to him would not work, he and an HPD officer took him to the ground in the grassy area outside my workplace. Chris patted and rubbed his back in a gentle, soothing way in an attempt to get him to calm down. He was speaking to him in a calm voice. All the while the guy was struggling. At this point, use of a tazer for everyone's safety would have been justified. Yet there was no use of force from the officers.
Then when Chris gets him in his cruiser, he mule kicks the window out and manages to squirm out of the back seat while Chris is going down the road! Again, he runs out into traffic and is subdued in the median. Rather than stun him with the taser, pepper spray him, or just plain beat him with a baton, Chris gets a yellow nylon rope out of his trunk and hogties him. Yeah that is humiliating but 1) it is better than being tasered or sprayed and 2) you got no reason to be acting like a jackass in the first place.
I don't know what happened to Ms. Kareken because I was not there, but Chris himself demonstrated professionalism and restraint in this particular situation.
Thank you for the insight. I would say the man you are speaking of was my son. I understand how he gets and I only had his word to take for it. He is a good person with a mental illness. He was tased many times of that i do know. It could have been Danville PD that used it, he was freaking out on them too. He said it was Harrodsburg. I really do understand that they were probably afraid for their safety as well as the safety of others. I am very grateful that they dropped felony charges. He is now back on his meds. That was part of his probabtion. I was so torn because if it happened the way he said, it was wrong. I am glad to know what really happened. Again thank you.
Yay for Chris

Mount Sterling, KY

#13 Jul 25, 2009
I think Chris Kehrt is the best thing that has happened to Mercer County in a long time! Unlike other law enforcement here, he wants to see the "true" pieces of shit pay for their crimes, and out of our society, instead of letting them "rat" their ways out of charges.

Since: Jul 08

Harrodsburg Kentucky

#14 Jul 25, 2009
lyricv wrote:
<quoted text>Thank you for the insight. I would say the man you are speaking of was my son. I understand how he gets and I only had his word to take for it. He is a good person with a mental illness. He was tased many times of that i do know. It could have been Danville PD that used it, he was freaking out on them too. He said it was Harrodsburg. I really do understand that they were probably afraid for their safety as well as the safety of others. I am very grateful that they dropped felony charges. He is now back on his meds. That was part of his probabtion. I was so torn because if it happened the way he said, it was wrong. I am glad to know what really happened. Again thank you.
Ma'am I am glad that your son is doing better. However, the way that he was acting he is very lucky that he was not seriously injured or killed.

I have nothing but sympathy for the mentally ill, but that does not release others from the damage that may be done to them by a disturbed person. It is my understanding that he fought at the jail and that is where he was tasered and beaten.

Good luck to you and your son.
Barcuda

United States

#15 Jul 25, 2009
Maybe the Mercer County Swat Team needs to invest in additional training for these officers that would include the officers being tased. My son is an officer in another state - his training requires being tased in yearly training class so they can understand what happens to a person physically when tased.

Since: Apr 08

AOL

#16 Jul 25, 2009
Bart McQueary wrote:
<quoted text>
Ma'am I am glad that your son is doing better. However, the way that he was acting he is very lucky that he was not seriously injured or killed.
I have nothing but sympathy for the mentally ill, but that does not release others from the damage that may be done to them by a disturbed person. It is my understanding that he fought at the jail and that is where he was tasered and beaten.
Good luck to you and your son.
I tried to get the judge to send him to Eastern state to get the help he needs but it fell on deaf ears. I hate that he acted in such a manner. I have tried for years to get him help. He is almost 30 so I can't do much of anything, just pray he doesn't anyone or himself.

Since: Apr 08

AOL

#17 Jul 25, 2009
*** just pray he doesn't hurt ect ect
just some info

Bardstown, KY

#18 Jul 25, 2009
Barcuda wrote:
Maybe the Mercer County Swat Team needs to invest in additional training for these officers that would include the officers being tased. My son is an officer in another state - his training requires being tased in yearly training class so they can understand what happens to a person physically when tased.
I know that some of the officers have had that training in Harrodsburg and mercer county and i agree all of them should have it if they have not already.
Starbuckin

Gravel Switch, KY

#19 Jul 27, 2009
It is my understanding that any officer who carries a Tazer has to be Tazed as part of manditory training. Same for Pepper Spray.
The Tazer brings another "Less Lethal" option to officers who deal with people who will not submit to an officer's commands.
Police Officers have the authority under our system of govornment to give people orders (tell people what they must do). When people resist a police officer, the officer is obligated by duty to subdue the individual.
If you want to complain about that, then move to another country and then try to resist THEIR officers and see what happens. Most countries I can think of, I'd say you'll move back pretty quickly and reevaluate your thinking.
An officer also has to evaluate every situation and individual they encounter, sometimes they arrive on a scene and the only information they have is what they see. They have to act on that, they must keep peace and order. Their commands must be followed.
It's a good thing that they have other options than having to use a firearm or resort to physical fighting. Fighting puts an officer at risk, for instance, an old fashioned "fist fight" could result in an officer getting a bloodbourne pathagen into his system from another individual.
It's simple, officer gets punched in face, breaks his nose, breaks the skin on and in his nose, the person doing the punching also breaks the skin on his fist....Congradulations both of their bloods are now mixed and also any diseases they both may carry.
The Tazer and pepper spray are better than phyisical fights, night sticks and especially firearms under most circumstances.
They are also all dangerous and have a risk involved with using them.
Bottom line: Don't resist a police officer.
If someone is mentally incompetant and is unable to make decisions, there are places for those people to go, to protect them and society.
It's up to a Judge to decide who's incompetant and who's not.
Bad things happen..
I don't know anything that happened concerning the afore mentioned event or the lawsuit other than what I've read here.
I also know than any police officer in the State of Kentucky has to pass thorough training.
I also believe Sheriff Kehrt when he says that their claims are not accurate.
Chris Kehrt is a seasoned officer and has a record that proves his right to be Sheriff. He also won the election that was voted by the Citizens of Mercer County. Also, he is not who trains his officers, it's the Kentucky Police Academy in Richmond.
He is their supervisor and would have fired them had they did anything wrong.

“Hey you stop lickin the winder”

Since: Jun 09

Location hidden

#20 Jul 27, 2009
He was also handcuffed and already in the jail cell he is a friend of mine and he showed me his marks and everything. He told me the story and I found it horrifying he literally thought he was dying. The man is a friend of mine and I know it to be true. I hope he sues the f*ck outta their a$$!
Johnny Boy wrote:
How are they suppose to know that someone is mentally ill. And you don't hear about the cases where the tazer is used and used properly. Only the two above that wasn't. We weren't there so that is that.

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