September 26, 2008
Katie Mercer, Canwest News Service
A teen who was Tasered by police as she clutched her one-month-old son just wants her baby back.
Misha Peterson, 16, said Vancouver police held her down on a bed and shot her with a Taser twice on Monday while she held her one-month-old son, Taige. "Three or four cops were holding me down and they Tasered me twice in the neck until I let go of my baby," said Peterson.
Peterson said social services were trying to take Taige because her 17-year-old boyfriend, Scott Michell, broke a supervision requirement. Michell can't see his child without adult supervision after an argument about Peterson moving back to her mother's "got out of hand," she said. The young mother spent last weekend at Michell's east Vancouver home. When she didn't check back in to her foster home on Sunday night, a missing person report was put out.
Michell said he and Peterson were sitting in his room at about noon on Monday when two case workers dropped by. Fifteen minutes later police arrived and things quickly escalated when police and the social workers tried to remove the baby.
Const. Jana McGuinness said officers had no choice but to Taser "the extremely distraught mother to rescue her critically ill infant."
After three hours with police negotiators, officers were worried that Taige -- who was born with a series of life-threatening medical conditions -- was being smothered against Peterson's chest. "They touched her arm and upper back with the Taser until she released her grip on the infant," said McGuinness. "It might appear to be harsh but we have to remember that if the child died because we hadn't used the Taser, what criticism would we face then?"
Under the Criminal Code, officers can only use force if it will prevent themselves or someone else from being grievously harmed.
Taige and Peterson, who is five feet one and about 110 pounds, were taken by ambulance to B.C. Children's Hospital. She was held for observation under the Mental Health Act for two days.
Michell admits everyone's emotions were running high that afternoon. "Taige was crying. Everyone was yelling in that room," said Michell. "By the way she was screaming it was really hurting her. They shouldn't be Tasering teenagers. We aren't even fully developed yet. It could hurt us."
Michell's grandmother, Doreen Duncan, said she was disgusted when she heard Peterson was Tasered. "The police should have just said, 'OK, we just want to see how you are doing.' But no, they used force," said Duncan, 57, adding the family has consulted a lawyer. She's 16 and she's being Tasered with a baby in her arms? It's gone too far. It's just wrong."
Taige has been in foster care since the incident. Peterson hopes she will be able to stay with him in foster care and "earn him back." "I've had him since birth. We've been doing really, really great and I'm only 16," said Peterson. "I just want him back."
WELCOME to TRUTH ... not TASERS
Friday, September 26, 2008
September 26, 2008