Oklahoma Police Taser Bedridden 86-Year-Old Woman

Saturday, June 26, 2010
Lona Varner

Bedridden and on oxygen, Lona Varner of El Reno, Oklahoma, was zapped by police using Taser guns after she acted in an “aggressive” manner in her bed. Officers showed up at Varner’s residence after her grandson, Lonnie Tinsley, called 911 seeking medical assistance for his grandmother. But instead of helping the 86-year-old woman, police officers Thomas Duran and Joseph Sandberg Tasered her, causing her to pass out. “Don’t Taze my granny!” Tinsley says he shouted at the officers, who also are accused of stepping on Varner’s oxygen hose.

Varner was taken to a hospital with burn marks on her chest. She was then placed in a psychiatric ward in Oklahoma City for six days before being released. Tinsley and Varner are suing the police officers and the city of El Reno for $75,000 in damages.
According to the police, Varner was suicidal and threatened them with a kitchen knife that she pulled out from underneath her pillow.
- David Wallechinsky, Noel Brinkerhoff
'Don't Taze My Granny!' (by Tim Hull, Courthouse News Service)
Lona Varner and Lonnie Tinsley v. City of El Reno (U.S. District Court, Western Oklahoma) (pdf)
See all 17 comments


hurray 13 years ago
$75,000 is cheap for a oxygen hose. have you heard of the rising cost of health care? if someone pulled a knife on me, under a questionable situation (elderly or otherwise), and with a yelling, uncooperative, unpredictable "teenager" in my face, i would do the same. the officers were called by these hillbillies not knowing what to expect.
Steve Smythe 13 years ago
there is absolutely no excuse that would suffice for those officers. the woman was already in a a immobile state. this is the common mentality of most police officers; they can't or just don't want to have to think and make a judgement, they usually shoot and then formulate a cover story afterwards. the police chief of el reno should be fired for maintaining this mob of abusive morons. i saw on the news last week that a oklahoma city cop chased down a young 19 year old for a traffic violaton and then tasered him, loaded the young boy in the squad car, and the tasered boy died while putting him in the car. sheesh!!!, oklahoma cops have problems with anger and shouldn't be carrying tasers or guns. how do they get away with this abuse?? why can't we put these cops away for life. btw, all of these cops that have commited these taser attacks are still on the payroll and our tax dollars are paying their salary. its just crazy to allow this to continue!!
Rusty Shakelford 14 years ago
Some day. something like this is going to cause the people to take back our government from the brownshirt thugs.
Buster 14 years ago
Just $75,000 ???
Crovax 14 years ago
Thats bullshit. Any not retarded person must be able easily avoid 86 years old grandma even she had knife. And thats not sure if it is true what they said, but why i have feeling, that it is not? A.C.A.B
Alan 14 years ago
I can't believe this! At first I thought it was a spoof or something, but it turns out to be a true story. http://www.familysurvivalcenter.com/security.htm#police It makes me feel helpless and powerless. What if this had happened to one of your family members?
polly 14 years ago
Let me be certain I understand this. According to news reports, several officers ganged up on a helpless BEDRIDDEN 86 year old woman who is ON OXYGEN. They manhandled her, cut off her oxygen, tazed her twice, and then held her several days against her will in a psych ward because she said she wants to die. Consider her condition and age and situation... taking her own life is HER CHOICE and her privilege and nobody else's business. Those officers are hired to "protect and serve", not torture children, elderly, and pets with a tazer gun, and that's exactly what has been happening all over the US since the police were handed tazers. How about throwing those so-called officers of the law in jail and prosecuting them for assault and battery, kidnapping, and anything else the DA can think of. They are not fit to be a part of any police force, and neither are tazer guns.
Steve Russ 14 years ago
Don't call the law, and you won't have to worry about them for the time being. I have been, shot, cut, and stabbed, and have not called one yet. I do NOT call them !
trixlette 14 years ago
Umm I would have waited it out, it wasn't like she was gonna get up and kick their butts. Police are trained in to disarm suspects, of knives, guns, or whatever. What wimps that they cannot disarm an 86 year old bed ridden woman, on oxygen. I am glad I don't have to depend on these morons to protect me and my family. If the thought or were told she was suicidal, they should have brought a mental health team with them. You telling me that this police force does not have ANY one trained for suicidal people or people with psychiatric problems? I live in Oklahoma city, and I go to El Reno frequently. They were probably all sitting around bored, with nothing to do but look for speeders on Route 66, and needed a little excitement. I hope each and every one of them gets fired, and El Reno has to pay big bucks! People that work in nursing homes are trained for these type of things...get real!
Steve Farley 14 years ago
Wesker, in his defense of the police must have missed the part of the story that the granny was 86 years old. Do you see her picture? We aren't talking about Mr. T or Hulk Hogan here, this is a 100 lb, frail, oxygen dependent. 10 cops were in the room and not one of these big bad cops could have taken control of the situation without the use of potentially deadly force? Yes, deadly force, these tasers have killed dozens of people. If these 10 cops can't control an 86 year old granny without shocking her twice with 25000 volts, well, they have not business being a cop. They should all, every one of them turn in their badges, guns and tasers and resign. What they do if they had to control someone, oh, say someone their age and weight? Shoot them? I hope this lady gets every penny this town has, every penny these cops have and I hope that if these cops don't have the gumption to resign, they ALL should be lined up, fired and then tasered.

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