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Father of Tased Child Speaks Out

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NEAR ASHLAND, Ore. — The father of a girl with autism who was tased by an Oregon State Trooper is calling the action excessive. Oregon State Police say the action may have saved her life.

The 11-year-old girl was found naked, wandering along Interstate 5 in the early morning hours. She was spotted by a passing cab driver, who stopped and called 911. That man says he was there when the State Trooper tased the girl.

Aram Hampson was not there when his daughter was tased, but says after hearing the witness account, he believes triggering a taser was too aggressive.

“From his report, she warned my daughter twice, who doesn’t respond verbally at all, and then tased her,” he said.

Hampson says his daughter has a severe case of autism. He says she cannot carry on a conversation and she tends to run away from home often.

“You can just tell you’re not dealing with a regular person who’s either on  drugs or anything else,” explained Hampson. “Physically (she) does not look  like an average 11-year-old. She’s kind of, you know, husky,” he added. Hampson believes this is why his pre-teen daughter was mistaken for a woman by authorities.

“Maybe it’s a little overused. It was not necessary. There wasn’t any threat to  the officers, and from the witness report, it wasn’t like she was in any immediate threat,” he said.

The cab driver who originally called 911 told NewsWatch 12 that the girl was along the edge of the road and not in traffic.  Oregon State Police Lt. Kelly Collins say tasing her most likely saved her life. Lt. Collins was not the trooper who responded to the call but spoke on behalf of OSP. He says the trooper saw the girl in danger and running onto the interstate.

Lt. Collins says the trooper was not aware of the girl’s diagnosis and she was under the impression that the girl was much older.

“This was not your normal 11 -year-old, and the fact that she was 11, shocked me when we found out her actual age,” said Collins.

“Ultimately, we want to use the least amount of force necessary so based  on that she takes what she has to deal with and has to make a split second decision. And the fact that this individual was running into lanes of traffic on I5 and back, she felt it was best for everybody,” said Collins.

OSP says when they come across people who are naked they are often dealing with someone who is on drugs. They call it excited delirium. Lt. Collins says in this state a person’s body can overheat, causing them to take off their clothes. Lt. Collins says previous experiences like that may have played a role in the trooper’s decision as well.  The trooper who deployed her taser is not on a suspension or administrative leave of any kind. However, OSP is still investigating the incident.

This is not the first time Oregon State Troopers have encountered the girl.  Other troopers have responded to calls before concerning her leaving home. Hampson says their home is safe and secure – and in this instance his daughter removed a screw that kept her window closed to get out of the house.

UPDATE: Oregon State Police have released a statement regarding this incident: Click Here to read more.

34 comments

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  1. Beth says:

    BS…they’re just “trigger happy.”

  2. Disgusted says:

    This “NEWS” station should be ASHAMED with their reporting.

    There is nothing but catering to the police on this one. I mean how could a 11 year old girl “look so much older”.

    As a journalist you have a RESPONSIBILITY to report the news…NOT SHILL FOR THE POLICE.

    Might as well just call your “newscast” propaganda for promoting the police state mentality.

    I mean the first story I saw on this they kept repeating…YOUNG WOMAN. As if that would somehow diffuse the over use of force. In the past a blanket and a large hug would have diffused the situation.

    Now we have officers dropping kids in the roads with tazers.

    DID WE ALL FORGET THAT THE USE OF TAZERS WAS SUPPOSED TO BE FOR A NON-LETHAL DETERRENT.

    Not a side game for Police to watch those who pay their bills twitch.

    KDRV…You are a bunch of bad actors playing Journalists. Because no REAL JOURNALIST would have been content with the explanation given here. Which was a obvious “PROTECTING THE UNSPOKEN CODE OF THE CRIMINALS WITH BADGES”.

  3. Kris says:

    The first story said she was walking. The taxi driver said she was walking. Now the OSP says she was running. Why is there story changing???? I would believe the taxi driver because he doesn’t have anything to lose and hasn’t changes his story. It takes almost no time for police to close a freeway. Her life would have been saved without excessive use of a Taser.

  4. Spider says:

    Nice job. “11 year old WOMAN”? Every one of you co-conspirators kept repeating the false ‘WOMAN’ aspect, even after you clearly had to know that it was a young child. You did it at the news desk, and your reporter did it on site. Boy did you guy’s strike a chord on line. Shilling for the police is about as accurate a description as can be presented. Why would you do that? How about a follow up story as to the excessive use of violence by cops on virtually every body, especially the innocent? This one is not going to go away, hope you are all prepared to explain yourselves to a national media…I see real grounds for a lawsuit.

  5. mooddeetee says:

    If the parents knew she was prone to run away, more measures should of been in place to keep her safe. I would rather have a tazed child than a dead child! I have an autistic son and he was a runner. Anytime he got outside he would take off in a dead run oblivious to to traffic or his surroundings. Thank god he finally grew out of that! Since this child was walking down I5, and not on some road with a sidewalk, Im so glad she didnt get hit by a car and killed.

    1. MA says:

      I know the family and they are wonderful people who love their children. The little girl in question was thought to be in a very secure location. The house is very safe and secure for this little girl. If you have a “runner” than you know how crafty they can be when it comes to sneaking out of the house. This was also very early in the morning when everyone was sleeping. They didn’t have to tase her, she’s very sweet and was non-combative. It was excessive force and if they keep getting away with this it will only get worse for everyone else, especially autistic people.

    2. Austin's Mom says:

      mooddeetee you do a disservice to your fellow autism parents with statements like that. Our house is like Fort Knots, but Austin can climb a fence. Parents are vigilant, but we do need to sleep and pee occasionally.

      1. Realist says:

        Let them run away. That’s what I’d do. Darwinism use to play a key role in the proper functionality of nature. Now look at America. Shame on the worthless cop too for calling herself a cop and not being able to subdue an 11 y/o girl without a taser. This society is a sick, yet amusing joke.

  6. shooter says:

    “…she tends to run away from home often…”

    Sounds like a parental control problem to me.

    1. Ness says:

      It is not a parental control problem. It is part of life for many parents of kids with autism. Notice she had to remove a screw to get out of her window? It is very difficult to contain some of these smart kids, and it is called “eloping.” Do a little research before you blame her parents.

      “Half of All Autistic Kids Will Run Away, Tragedy Often Follows”
      http://abcnews.go.com/Health/half-autistic-kids-run-tragedy/story?id=19084591#.UcSaieDZ4xI

      1. Laurie VanCurler says:

        “……Tragedy Often Follows.” It didn’t this time, thankfully.

        1. chopper says:

          An 11yo girl getting tazed so that she falls on her face is a happy end for you?

          1. Wyatt's Mom says:

            She’s not a wet spot on I-5.

      2. Austin's Mom says:

        It’s not a parenting issue. Until you live the life of autism you will never understand. Here is an amazing website that can help with your ignorance. http://www.awaare.org/

        Maybe you could use your excess time and print some of these out for your local First Responders. http://nationalautismassociation.org/docs/BigRedSafetyToolkit-FR.pdf

        Our autism community has enough people hurting us, use your time to help us and to protect children like the one in this story.

    2. Jenoun says:

      Unless you have -any- idea what it’s like to raise an autistic child, perhaps you should think before you type.

      1. Realist says:

        I think you should just give it up and let them run away. Now that’s thinking. Typical america… can’t control their emotions and have to waste the lives of several in order to support one. Get real.

    3. Lynn says:

      Shooter—-you should chime out because you obviously don’t have a child with Autism and have no right to make that comment. Many of them have no fear, wonder off and are very good at figuring out how to manipulate locks, windows, gates and climb to get what they want.

      Mooddeetee—- I really doubt you have a child with Autism because if you did you wouldn’t be so quick to blame or make assumptions

      Even if the police officer didn’t know the child had autism they also didn’t know if the child was drugged, raped or in shock from something. I would think she would have been looked at like a victim not a criminal and other steps could have been taken to help her.

      The media acts like a bunch of puppets reporting what they are told to say instead of the facts!

    4. Shari Hagewood says:

      sounds like the parents need much better control over her. If she was walking on the Ashland Grade – that is one steep highway. Nowadays kids many times look older than they really are due to all the processed crap and growth hormones they innocently ingest.

    5. Gabes Mom says:

      Shooter,
      With all due respect…ARE YOU INSANE? Parental control??? She’s a human child not a computer! Clearly you have no children on the spectrum….children both on the spectrum and off may wander…but the ones on the spectrum also have no safety awareness so you do what you can to ensure that your home is secure. Having said that, I would ask if you ever shower, sleep or use the toilet? Because I can assure you that Autism parents need to do those things too, and in the amount of time it takes to use the toilet your child can be gone. These children are highly intelligent and very often phenomenal problem solvers. For heavens sake how about a bit of sympathy for the parents who nearly lost their child, or some compassion for the child who had a taser used on her, because I can promise you she had no clue as to why she was being hurt like that. Judgmental people like you are a large part of the reason it’s so difficult to parent a child on the spectrum. Next time, engage your brain before you open your mouth!

  7. Milt says:

    I just happen to be listening to my scanner when all this happened the cop kept saying
    she thought she was on bath salts or had a mental problem after they put her in the cop car
    she said she was banging her head on the window. so 1-10 think cops get big 0 on this one.
    just last month or month before I was reading on the news where Medford cops and cops from ALL other agencies were taking a class on how to identify people with mental problems AAAAA what happen I mean I worked for Goodwill foe four years it’s not that damn hard.

    1. Wyatt's Mom says:

      I was in attendance and yes there were 4-5 officers from Ashland PD, Phoenix PD, Medford PD. Don’t remember seeing OSP there, but it would be the luck of the draw for the only one OSP officer who did take the training to be the only one on duty that night. Here OSP Press release:

      OSP’s official reply: Oregon State Police Statement Regarding June 16, 2013 Taser Use-Of-Force Incident on Interstate 5 near Ashland
      June 21, 2013

      On June 16, 2013 at approximately 4:15 a.m., OSP was dispatched to a report of a person walking naked along Interstate 5 north of Ashland. The lone trooper on duty in the area arrived on scene and saw an unidentified female walking in darkness southbound with her back to traffic on the fog line in an unlit area. Without backup available, the female trooper tried to get the female’s attention to get her to come to the car but was met with no verbal response or cooperation. When a passing motorist stopped at the scene, the female moved out into the traffic lanes and as the trooper followed she didn’t get any response or show of cooperation. As the situation continued to quickly unfold, the trooper used a Taser to keep the female from continuing to move into a position on the freeway, where others may suddently drive upon the scene with no reasonable expectation of pedestrians on the roadway, that would put her or others at risk.

      After checking the female for any injury and finding none, the trooper placed the resistive female in the patrol car and took her to an area hospital. After arrival, the female continued to be unresponsive to questions and was resistant to medical staff’s help. Her behavior and physical development led medical staff and the trooper to think she was in her late teens to early 20’s. At that time they also started thinking she may be autistic.

      While at the hospital, OSP sent a news release to area media asking for help to identify the female for which there was no information explaining how and why she was along the freeway. With the help of the local 9-1-1 center, she was identified and contact made with a family member. It was only at this time that her actual age (11) was learned. Once in contact with her family, OSP shared details of what happened and will update her family as needed.

      OSP understands that this incident has caused concern while many parts of the story were being reported and picked up on social media. Per policy, OSP reviews all use-of-force incidents involving our troopers. We are grateful the girl was identified quickly and reunited with family that morning after being checked out at the hospital.

      In June 2012, OSP began equipping all troopers assigned to the Patrol Services Division and Fish & Wildlife Division with Taser X2 electronic control devices (ECD). OSP troopers go through 8 hours of mandatory training to handle potential use of force situations with an appropriate level of response to minimize possible injury to our troopers and persons they are contacting. Ninety (90) percent of U.S. law enforcement agencies use ECD equipment as a safe use-of-force option compared to traditional use-of-force tools. The Taser is an alternative to deadly force, impact weapons (baton) and physical resistance which may involve fighting with people, often leading to injuries to the officer and/or person.

      During the last few years on average, OSP troopers were annually involved in over 250,000 calls resulting in contacts with people. During 2012, OSP troopers reported 125 use-of-force incidents – approximately .05% of OSP contacts. Preliminary information indicates use-of-force incidents are trending down since OSP troopers been carrying Tasers in late 2012, possibly because the displaying of a Taser during a potential use-of-force situation is known to diffuse resistance and gain compliance.

  8. Achsel says:

    Her behavior could not have more clearly been autism than if she waved a flag with autism written on it. Acting like they can’t or don’t hear you, off in their own world, non-verbal or non-responsive, elopers, aversive to being touched or certain lights, sounds, smells, banging their heads or other self-injurious behavior, stripping of clothing.
    How about a little Autism 101! It just takes a little training. Try living with autism. When you know it you can recognize it a mile away.
    I am blown away by the revelation that this was a female state trooper. A female whose first instinct was not to wrap the child in a blanket and lead her to her car but instead to taze her, then yank her off the ground, throw her over the hood of the taxi and hancuff her and throw her in the back of the police car…..pay no attention to the extreme stress you just put her in.
    Who is this trooper that…….
    A) Can’t destinguish a prepubescent child from an adult woman?
    B) Can’t distinguish between Autism and flipped out crack whore?
    C) Can’t distinguish lack of response from non-compliance?
    D) Took several hours before the possibility of autism entered her mind?
    I am sure there is more but that is quite enough don’t you think?

    1. Wyatt's Mom says:

      You do realize that those behaviors also fall under “highly drugged” and that 11 year old’s can possess the stature of 15-16 year old’s? It is dangerous to chase someone around the freeway who does not comply and resists touch, and I’m guessing the officer was concerned for not only the girl but her own life. While neither of us were there and didn’t see the situation first hand, nor have the training the officer did, we can be thankful that the girl is alive. Cops don’t have the luxury of being able to diagnose people (practice medicine) in a few moments while determining how best to stop a very probable tragedy on a high-big-rig-traffic stretch of I-5. In case you want to argue, my son was diagnosed with Autism, and my husband is a retired detective. I see both sides. Am guessing the family is now concentrating on the next highest safety interventions… Am not going to attack the family like you did the cop. They’ve been through enough.

      1. Aaron says:

        The cop was lazy. It’s easier to taze someone than to talk to them and understand what is going one. Taze them all sort it out later should be their motto.

    2. roger says:

      Another isolated incident. 8-)

  9. Ed says:

    NONE OF YOU WERE THERE

  10. Jim says:

    This day and age with police acting more like thugs than public servants, I ALWAYS believe the cops are in the wrong and they must prove they are innocent. I’ve encountered several cops that lied multiple times at a state road block and challenged them on their lies. The cops also lied about lying. I would trust anyone’s claim to police abuse or lying over any cops sworn statement about what happened. Cops brought this on themselves.

    BTW, 20 years ago when a cop would get nailed, the streets would be lined with mourners, but those days are long gone. The only mourners are fellow cops. the public has better things to do.

  11. Chris says:

    If the officer felt girl was in grave danger, why not stop the traffic, as they would for an accident or other emergency situation?

  12. Baboonzo says:

    Ed, you old rascal you; how can you be so reasonable at a time like this? Have you been an officer, maybe?

    The truth is, this was a very scary situation that ended about as well as anyone could hope. This poor Autistic girl’s had another miserable experience in a life that will be filled with them and the officer most likely has a gut ache about what happened but probably shouldn’t have. Who knows? Maybe in some way the officer could have done something better but; bottom line,the girl is home with her family, most likely plotting how she can run again, the officer ought not be hassled about this, and the NEWS vultures get a story to show they’re at work for a change, not down at the Dew Drop Inn. All in all, in an imperfect world, I’ll settle for what happened. Most nights a single officer’s main problem on that shift would be boredom, just not that particular night.
    We can’t even blame the OSP for not having two officers there; they have a budget.

  13. Tommy Thompson says:

    This was a female state trooper. A man is not afraid of a naked woman. Female troopers will always rachet their response up based simply on the fact that they are not as strong as men. Hello wake up people.

  14. Chester88 says:

    Oh Wyatt’s Mom, Mr. Nice Policeman and Policewoman are ever oh so noble and righteous, aren’t they? Forget any of the barrage of national news stories showing consistent excessive use of force, intimidation and violence by police on a daily basis and just massage those badges.

  15. Melissa says:

    I have two words for this father – alarm system. Next time the girl might not be so lucky.

  16. Bjorn Luminaire says:

    There is no reason anyone should feel threatened by a nude child who was obviously lost in the throes of a complete ‘melt-down’, what happened to her was nothing short of premeditated assault & anyone who thinks even remotely that this barbaric act is somehow ‘OK’ better check their humanity & imagine it as your child this happened to.

    The clearly ‘non-evil’ choice the Police Officer had was obviously to get a blanket from the car, then wrap it around the child, talk calmly to her, put her in the car gently, radioed HQ and have them contact Child Protective Services. That would’ve been the first course of action to come to my mind, not using a hammer to remedy the situation.

  17. mlyons619 says:

    A taser is not a rescue tool, but a WEAPON to be used as an alternative to DEADLY FORCE.

    Accordingly, this investigation should NOT be conducted by the OSP who BTW have already been cited by the US Department of Justice for a policy of excessive force – including taserings – as of September 2012. This should be a GRAND JURY investigation – some that is public record.

    If Dad sues, it will be expensive for the OSP – and the taxpayers…

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