Mom in minivan tasered twice in traffic stop
by John O'Brien / The Post-Standard
Thursday August 13, 2009, 3:33 AM
In January, an Onondaga County sheriff's deputy pulled over Audra Harmon, who had two of her kids with her in her minivan. A routine traffic stop escalated quickly.
The deputy, Sean Andrews, accused her of talking on her cell phone. She said she could prove him wrong.
He said she was speeding. She denied it and got out of the van. He told her to get back in. She did, then he ordered her back out.
He yanked her out by the arm, knocked her down with two Taser shots and charged her with disorderly conduct and resisting arrest. His rationale on the disorderly conduct charge: She obstructed traffic when she got out of the van. The speeding accusation: going 50 mph in a 45-mph zone.
The scene along Hopkins Road in Salina on the afternoon of Jan. 31 was captured by a camera on the dashboard of Andrews' patrol car. Harmon, 38, says the video is proof of police brutality.
She plans to sue the sheriff's office today, claiming Andrews was improperly trained in the use of his Taser. It's not supposed to be used to take down people who pose no threat, she said.
Andrews, 37, a deputy for four years, was taken off road patrol after the arrest and will remain in a new assignment until an internal affairs investigation is finished, Sheriff Kevin Walsh said. Walsh declined to comment because the case is under litigation. Andrews also would not comment. He makes $49,095 a year.
Harmon was charged with disorderly conduct, resisting arrest and going 50 in a 45 mph zone. The district attorney's office dismissed the charges a month later -- after watching the videotape, said her lawyer, Terrance Hoffmann. The prosecutor could not be reached for comment.