Sat, Jun 13, 2009 - Page 7 News List

Grandmother Tasered in Texas in traffic stand-off

AP , AUSTIN, TEXAS

A 72-year-old woman who refused to sign her speeding ticket got out of her truck and dared a deputy to shock her with a Taser.

So he did.

Video released by the Travis County Constable’s Office shows Kathryn Winkfein hitting the ground and moaning while the shocks jolted through her body after the May 11 confrontation with Travis County Sheriff’s Deputy Chris Bieze.

Winkfein was stopped for driving at 96kph in a 72kph zone just west of Austin. A dashboard camera in the deputy’s car shows the 1.5m Winkfein refusing to sign her speeding ticket, getting out of her white pickup truck and cursing at the deputy constable.

Bieze then pushes her to get her away from traffic.

“You’re gonna shove a 72-year-old woman,” Winkfein says angrily, standing close to the deputy.

“If you don’t step back, you’re going to get Tased,” Bieze says.

“Go ahead, Tase me,” Winkfein says. “I dare you.”

The video shows Bieze using the Taser and Winkfein hitting the ground and moaning in pain.

“Put your hands behind your back or you’re going to be Tased again,” Bieze yells, and then hits her with another jolt.

Travis County Sheriff Greg Hamilton, whose office does not oversee the constables, issued a statement on Wednesday saying: “I do not personally agree with the actions of the deputy constable as they are shown in the video. When I look at the video I am in awe of what happened.”

Winkfein was eventually charged with resisting arrest, a misdemeanor punishable by up to a year in jail and fines up to US$4,000.

Constable Sergeant Major Gary Griffin has defended Bieze’s actions and said that Winkfein was belligerent and difficult to handle.

Winkfein told Austin TV station KTBC that she didn’t believe she deserved to be shocked: “I wasn’t argumentative, I was not combative. This is a lie.”

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