Deputy Chris Bieze pulled over Kathryn Winkfein on May 11th at 2pm for speeding on Highway 71 and Bee Cave, but the Great-grandma refused to sign the ticket.The deputy's boss said the tazing followed departmental policy, but if so their policy is flawed. The deputy could have simply arrested the woman, there was no need to fire the taser. As it turns out, the same deputy is the person responsible for training everyone in his department on taser use!
"Take me to jail, go on and take me to jail," she yelled at Deputy Bieze.
Winkfein got out of the truck and walked close to the line separating the shoulder from the traffic zipping by.
"Give me the (expletive) thing, and I'll sign it," she yelled about the ticket.
Then came the push.
"You're going to shove a 72-year-old woman," Winkfein screamed?
Sgt. Major Gary Griffin said Bieze moved Winkfein to prevent her from stepping out onto the busy and dangerous stretch of highway.
"He didn't push her into a ditch tumbling down like a rock, he moved her," he told CBS 42’s Katherine Stolp.
After Bieze repeatedly told Winkfein to step back or get tased, the 72 year old dared him to do it.
"He told her nine times, nine times,” Sgt. Major Griffin exclaimed.
“Go ahead tase me," Winkfein told Bieze. "I dare you."
So, he did. Sgt. Major Griffin admitted to us his Deputy could have handled the situation better.
Maybe deputy constables shouldn't be out making routine traffic stops if the folks training them think using force under such circumstances is okay. The Travis County Sheriff has the same use of force policy, according to KEYE, but Sheriff Greg Hamilton publicly criticized the deputy constable and said the use of force was unacceptable. (I'll see if I can't lay my hands on a copy of the policy and follow up.)
The Department of Justice earlier this year criticized the Austin PD's failure to provide good supervision and training on using tasers and other intermediate-range weapons, and this incident makes me think that shortcoming may be more widespread than just at APD.