LAWRENCE COUNTY SHERIFF CONFISCATES DEPARTMENT’S TASERS AFTER INCIDENT INVOLVING GRANDPA WITH LEUKEMIA
LAWRENCE CO.–The deputies of the Lawrence County Sheriff’s Department are without TASERs this morning after an incident last night (01.22.10) during which an older man with leukemia was TASERed multiple times after a traffic stop.
Deputy Hal Pargin, shown left at a county board meeting last summer, affected a traffic stop last night on one Dennis Thacker, 61, who is currently suffering leukemia. With Thacker were his grandson, Blaine Steber, 3, and a neighbor, Abby Organ, 12. They were going from a ballgame to McDonald’s in Lawrenceville and were eastbound on 250 when Pargin pulled Thacker over for speeding.
Thacker provided Pargin his license and Pargin was apparently totally aware that it was Thacker he was dealing with and not some wild crazyman.
However, Thacker didn’t have his insurance proof immediately available. He had reportedly gotten out of the vehicle and was talking to Pargin, telling him he’d go back to get his insurance cards. When he retrieved them from his vehicle and returned to Pargin, the deputy reportedly started yelling at Thacker to “get back in the car!” inexplicably. Witnesses say all Thacker was trying to do was offer Pargin his proof of insurance.
Instead of taking it, Pargin, without shouting that he was about to deploy his TASER (per department policy), simply TASERed the older man, who began shouting “No! Stop it!” and then fell to the ground.
Witnesses say Thacker was TASERed a total of four times, and apparently Pargin was able to reload the cartridges on the TASER gun, as it was reported witnesses pulled a total of eight barbs from the sickly man.
Thacker was charged with ‘resisting arrest’ (something EVERYONE in Lawrence is charged with upon arrest, whether they do or not) and taken to the county jail in Lawrenceville. Abby’s mom Stacy Organ, daughter of county board representative Larry Stoltz, went to pick up her daughter and little Blaine…who was crying and screaming “They killed my grandpa!!”
Thacker’s blood pressure by this time had skyrocketed to over 200 and he was asking to be taken to the hospital; jail staff reportedly refused.
Disclosure called Lawrence sheriff Russell Adams to warn him of the impending shitstorm that was no doubt going to ensue (as Stacy Organ is the kind of person who doesn’t take any crap from anyone). Adams assured that things were going to be taken care of properly…unlike other times when his deputies had abused a suspect and refused treatment for them with serious affects (Nick McQueen, back in September).
Thacker was taken to Good Sam in Vincennes, stabilized and released. He is still under preliminary charges of Resisting, and had to post bond before he was released from the jail.
This morning Adams informed Disclosure that he had taken TASERs from the department (three of the weapons; a fourth remained in the custody of a deputy until Adams could obtain it). Their use will be suspended, he said, until further clarification of the department’s TASER policy can be made.
Adams has notified the Illinois State Police and have asked them to investigate the incident. A videotape of the traffic stop and ensuing TASERing is being reviewed by Adams, Lawrence prosecutor Lisa Wade, and ISP. Thacker is reportedly home and is feeling quite crappy, much the worse for wear from his unnecessary experience.
This is the second such unnecessary incident involving a TASER in recent months; Ben Stoltz was repeatedly hit by a TASER weapon by deputy Dennis York last fall and has been suffering health effects since that time. Both York and Pargin have been involved in violent attacks against restrained/subdued suspects in the past—York with McQueen, Pargin with one Walt Gowin two years ago. Almost all the deputies on the Lawrence County sheriff’s department, along with most other police in the county (Lawrenceville, Bridgeport, St. Francisville, Sumner) have been involved in some kind of violent altercation with restrained/subdued suspects in recent years, coverage of which has been given in Disclosure‘s print version.
For a more complete accounting of this incident, pick up your copy of the February/March print version, on stands Feb. 8-10.
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