Teen nearly killed during traffic stop files suit against TASER, former officer and city of Independence

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. — A local teenager who nearly died during a run in with Independence police is suing the department and TASER International, the company that makes and markets the stun gun used by police.

A judge has already sentenced the officer involved in this incident to four years behind bars for violating Bryce Masters’ civil rights.

Dashcam video shows former Independence Officer Timothy Runnels using excessive force on the then-17-year-old Masters during a traffic stop in September 2014.

Court documents say the teen was hit in the chest and tased for 23 seconds before being dragged from the car and dropped to the pavement. The shock sent Masters into cardiac arrest, and he was later revived by CPR. Masters’ family says he suffered lasting brain damage.

This lawsuit is focused primarily on TASER International and its role in the incident. Specifically, the lawsuit says TASER knew its product could cause cardiac arrest when deployed in the chest, but didn’t tell that to police departments during sales pitches and training sessions.

TASER eventually changed its training, but Masters’ lawsuit says TASER still downplayed the weapon’s danger.

The suit seeks unspecified damages — saying TASER didn’t try hard enough to change police TASER training even when the company knew the heart attack risk.

Defendants named in the case include TASER International, the company’s CEO, former Officer Runnels, two of his supervisors, and the city of Independence.



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