Austin cop was cleared of any wrong doing by a grand jury this
week after he tased a 72 year old woman during a routine speeding
The Travis County grand jury declined to indict Deputy Constable
Christopher Bieze on a charge of injury to an elderly person,
following the incident on May 11, 2009.
Bieze pulled over Kathryn Winkfein on Texas 71, west of Austin,
on suspicion of driving 60mph in a 45mph zone.
When the great grandmother refused to sign the citation, Bieze
ordered her out of the car and threatened to tase her.
The 4-foot-11 Winkfein dared the Deputy Constable to use his
Taser on her, as her began pushing her away from the road when
she attempted to return to her vehicle.
Apparently at his wits end, Bieze took her up on the dare and
hit her with 50,000 volts from the shock gun.
In dash cam footage, Winkfein can be seen collapsing in paralysis
on the ground screaming, while Bieze shouts at her to put her
hands behind her back.
Watch the video:
Here is a longer uncut version of the video:
Despite the court's decision, District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg
criticized the actions of Bieze, noting "While Deputy Constable
Bieze may have followed the letter of the law, a more prudent
use of discretion may have resulted in a different outcome."
"In the end, they determined only that Bieze's actions
were legal. However, their decision was not an endorsement of
either party to this conflict." Lehmberg added.
An internal investigation also concluded that Bieze didn't
violate any county policies and he was not disciplined.
Mrs Winkfein was awarded a $40,000 settlement by Travis County
commissioners last October, after she filed a lawsuit seeking
$175,000 from the county.
The Taser is designed to be used as a weapon of last resort
before lethal action by police. However, in hundreds of publicized
cases, police have used the Taser as soon as someone displayed
a "fighting stance" or simply to get a non-violent
suspect to do what they were told.
The failure to find any fault with the officer's actions in
this latest case bolsters the notion that "pain compliance,"
a euphemism for torture, is acceptable in apprehending anyone
even if that person poses no physical danger.
As we have seen from the number of taser related deaths in
recent years, if you electrify any person, they suffer extreme
pain and stand a high chance of being killed.In comments to
American Statesman, Bieze's supervisor Constable
Richard McCain said that Bieze did nothing wrong but that his
office has since changed and clarified policies regarding Taser
use, and has increased training in part to better handle "difficult