Video: 72-year-old Woman tazed in Austin traffic stop

The ailing and anemic Austin-Statesman must be getting a sizable boost in hits on its online edition today, due to the video clip of Kathryn Winkfein, a 72-year-old grandmother who has sued Travis County for $135,000 after being hit with a tazer during a traffic stop. According to the Statesman, Deputy Constable Christopher Bieze, who looms large and stocky next to the feisty and uncooperative 4-foot-11 great grandmother, loses control of the situation almost immediately, resorting to yelling at the woman, escalating the situation like gasoline on a fire. While Winkfein is not being nice or cooperative, it’s impossible to not take her side in the situation. The county has made a counter-offer of $40,000 and insists that this is as high as they’ll go.

Is that enough? I don’t know. One’s disgust is sure to be increased by the news that the officer was not suspended, not even reprimanded. “He didn’t do anything wrong,” says his supervisor. Oh yeah?


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5 Responses to Video: 72-year-old Woman tazed in Austin traffic stop

  1. Susan Adams

    While I do not believe the officer should not have tasered the woman (due to her age and size), I do believe he had to do something to stop her. He was standing dangerously close to the traffic and she continually invaded his space putting his life in jeopardy. She was confrontational from the start and was equally culpable in escallating the situation. Should she be rewarded for her behavior by a big check? I think not. Should he have been suspended? I don’t know, but I do think some more/specific training on how to deal with confrontational senior/elderly citizens might be the solution.
    By age, I am considered a senior citizen and I am not stupid enough to confront an officer of the law with that behavior.

  2. She was undeniably stupid and obnoxious, but there were all kinds of alternative ways to deal with the situation. Cops make mistakes because they are only human, but when they do, they must be held accountable and any equitable society must step forward, admit the error, punish the guilty and make amends, if appropriate. Monetary awards are one way for institutions to provide justice where people have been unduly hurt. Societies that refuse to make such accountability available are dictatorships. While you may feel that a monetary award is wrong, it does help advance a positive step forward. If such lawsuits were never filed and awarded in favor of the plaintfiff, we would be living in a police state. Take a look at news reports from the early 1960s; cops and civic leaders alike denied that there was even such a thing as police brutality. Citizens on the lower rungs of society, minorities and the unlucky had another view.

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  4. Thanks a lot, Jim. I really appreciate it. I was slow to come to blogging, since I have a real crisis with time management, but I’m trying to figure it out. I don’t get a lot of comments, even when I get a lot of hits; my usual readers mostly just put their comments on FaceBook, which is easier, so again, I appreciate it. More stuff en route!


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