Defends actions as justifiable and says suspension is “playing politics”
Monday, August 31, 2009
A New York sheriff’s deputy has defended his actions in tasering a woman in front of her two young children, and says that the decision to suspend him for thirty days came only after the story made national headlines earlier this month.
Sean Andrews, a deputy in Onondaga County, tased Audra Harmon twice after pulling her over for driving 50 mph in a 45 mph zone last January. Her two young children were strapped in the back seat of the vehicle.
Harmon was charged with resisting arrest, disorderly conduct and speeding, however, all charges against her were subsequently dismissed and she announced she would sue the sheriff’s department in early August.
Now, in an email, reportedly intended for friends and family only, leaked to and published by the Syracuse Post-Standard, Andrews says was right to stun Harmon because she refused to follow his orders, claiming he could not see her hands at all times.
“I drew my Taser on her because we are trained in the police academy and throughout our careers that all people are considered a threat on a traffic stop… Anyone with hands can kill a cop, it doesn’t matter how old they are.” he writes.
Andrews also states that his sheriff is pandering to public pressure by suspending him without pay for one month and asking him to resign, following an administrative hearing last week.
“It is no mystery that this was a completely political move on the sheriff’s part because he realizes that the video alone with no explanation does not look good and he feels his job will be in jeopardy,” Andrews wrote.
Harmon and her legal representatives have stated that Andrews’ justification of the incident is incorrect owing to the fact that she posed no physical threat to the sheriff’s deputy and her hands are clearly showing at all times in the video.
Andrews could face further disciplinary actions over the Jan. 31 incident.
His email can be read in full at the following link .
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The following is dashboard video of the incident, accompanied by a reading of Andrews’ email:
Here is the video again with Audra Harmon’s description of the incident:
According to a report in the Associated Press , neither the sheriff’s department, nor Sean Andrews himself have responded to requests for comment.