Cop Uses Taser To Stop Garden Hose Snatcher
by Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
May 19, 2006
CHARLESTON, SOUTH CAROLINA--On April 29, off-duty North Charleston Police Officer James Gann spotted Derek Derr walking with a staff person from his group home and carrying a garden hose.
Gann later wrote in his police report that he was familiar with Derr and knew about his developmental disability. Gann also wrote that he understood that the 28-year-old had a fascination with garden hoses, and had even taken Gann's hose before.
For whatever reason, Gann decided to confront Derr and order him to put the hose down. Derr refused to put down the hose, and hit the staff member on her forearm.
Before long, Gann used a Taser stun gun four times to shock the 230-pound man with 50,000 volts of electricity, before restraining and handcuffing him, and taking him to jail. Once there, he was booked on charges of assaulting a police officer, assault and disorderly conduct.
Derr's family told the Post and Courier that he immediately started having epileptic seizures. After he posted bail, a group home employee took him to a local hospital, where he was treated and released.
The Disabilities Board of Charleston County and Derr's family have criticized Officer Gann's actions.
Larry Derr said most neighbors understand about his son's obsession with water hoses. Staff members of the group home often returned garden hoses to neighbors with no major problems.
"But this officer saw him coming across the road with a staff member and decided to put his 2 cents in," he explained. "If they hadn't gotten involved, it wouldn't have escalated to this point."
A spokesperson with the North Charleston Police Department said the officers handled the incident appropriately.
"Police use Taser on man with disabilities" (Post and Courier)