KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Video released on Monday shows a new view of the moment an Independence police officer used a taser on a teenager.
Timothy Runnels was sentenced to four years behind bars for the 2014 tasing arrest that put teenager in a Bryce Masters coma.
Runnels said Masters wouldn’t cooperate and that drug paraphernalia was found in Masters’ car. Runnels stated he ordered Masters to get out of his car several times, but he refused during his arrest in September 2014.
This picture of Masters in the hospital following the arrest that was also just released as part of a larger release of documents related to the investigation:
As part of his guilty plea, Runnels admitted that he violated the teenager’s civil rights during the arrest by intentionally dropping him face first on the ground while Masters posed no threat. According to court documents, Runnels also admitted to injuring the teenager.
Court filings also say the government proved that Runnels deployed his taser, hitting Masters in the chest and allowing the current to run for about 20 seconds, which is four-times longer than officers are trained to have their tasers deployed.
Masters suffered cardiac arrest, but survived due to medical treatment given at the scene and at a hospital.
Runnels is ordered to begin his sentence at the start of August, and will be on supervised release for two years after he gets out of a federal prison.
The Masters family gave this statement following the release of Runnels’ sentence,which reads in part:
The following is the entire Masters family statement:
“The Masters Family is a law enforcement family and has been for over eighteen years. They understand the pressures and emotions that encompass police families. They know what it’s like to work and raise a family in the law enforcement community. The law cannot realistically require that police officers make no human errors whatsoever when performing their duties. The burden on law enforcement and the variations of human nature make an error free expectation unrealistic. However, the courts of this great land have required that police officers act reasonably. Determining what an officer knows or should know based on their training and experience to conclude whether their responses were reasonable under the circumstances is the standard that is expected. This standard should be acknowledged and practiced by every police officer.
“This expectation has been the driving force for the Masters’ family and their belief that their son was not treated in a reasonable manner by a law enforcement officer. This was evident during the traffic stop itself, the nebulous reasons for the contact, and by the lack of adequate medical care thereafter. Bryce was exercising his right to politely ask questions regarding his detention. He did not have a warrant for his arrest. The car he was driving was properly registered to his parents and did not have a warrant responding to it as reported. The recognized change in “probable cause” from the initial and follow up statements to the media by the involved department were very apparent. The noticeable posturing by the officer and the department was quite visible within the first three days of the incident and was a red flag to the family. Bryce asserted his rights during the police encounter by asking if he was being arrested and for what reason. This resulted in his poor treatment and ultimately his clinical death. The family has the utmost faith in the system and will continue to do so until this case has finally been resolved. Bryce Masters would not be with us today had it not been for divine intervention and the extraordinary life saving measures performed by paramedics with American Medical Response and the staff at Centerpoint Medical Center.
“The Masters Family would like to thank the U.S. Attorney’s Office and the FBI for their professionalism and vigilance in investigating this life altering incident. The family would like to extend a special thanks to Chief Daryl Forte and the entire Kansas City Police Department who have been unwavering with their support during the last six months. They would like to also thank the countless friends and family who have sustained them with words of encouragement, prayers, and unconditional love.
“We kindly ask that the family’s privacy be honored and respected as this is a difficult time for all involved as the case continues to now move forward.”