“I wouldn’t mind being hit with a taser if there was some money in it,” says redneck cop. “I’d taser my own grandma for $100.”Reaction over a Travis County court’s agreement to award $40,000 to Kathryn Winkfein, a 72-year-old, 4 foot, 11 inch great grandmother who was tasered by a deputy constable during a traffic stop, a county judge is pushing for even more extensive of electronic stun guns. “If people won’t behave, we have to do something,” said Judge Cort Dawson of Williamson County yesterday. “If we aren’t allowed to enforce our own ideas of justice in the courtroom or even during traffic stops, we need to send these people a jolt that they’ll remember.”
The incident in which Kathryn Winkfein was tasered by Deputy Constable Christopher Bieze occurred on Texas 71 in western Travis County May 11. Winkfein, who was allegedly driving 60 mph in a 45-mph construction zone, was tasered by Bieze after she told him she wouldn’t sign the citation. A video linked to a story on the confrontation sent a huge spike the Austin Statesman’s website, which has been primarily visited in the past by web surfers who accidently typed “states” instead of “slate.com.”
Bieze was not disciplined for his actions because, said his supervisor, “He didn’t do anything wrong.” Precinct 3 Constable Richard McCain (see photo inset of redneck cop) called it a sad day for the county. “I think it’s a miscarriage of justice,” he said.
Travis County Sheriff Greg Hamilton, however, voiced his disapproval of Bieze’s actions in a statement soon after the diminutive great grandmother was shocked and jailed for resisting arrest.
Winkfein originally asked for $165,000 but agreed to settle for $40,000. Taking the case to trial would have cost the county considerably more money.
McCain, more bitter than ever, said the settlement sets a bad precedent and that the tiny but feisty woman is being congratulated for her “bad behavior.”
“So anyone can write a letter to the county commissioners, and they’re going to start forking over our tax dollars?” said McCain.
Up in Williamson County, where law enforcement and justice officials have always taken a more aggressive stance toward anarchy and frivolous lawsuits, County Judge Cort Dawson urged county and city law enforcement officers to take a zero tolerance approach to shoplifters, jaywalkers, traffic violators and people rudely talking on cell phones in bank and post office lines. “Zap ’em,” said Dawson. “Zap ’em hard,” he said. “Once they’re down on the ground, jerking and urinating in their pants, they’ll regret they talked back to an officer of the law.”
Dawson further issued the county’s stamp of approval for schoolteachers, day car supervisors and parents to begin using the electronic stun guns on toddlers, misbehaving pets and the elderly.
“I think it sends a message,” said Dawson. “Let them sue. Once I get them in my courtroom, I’ll give ’em a dose they’ll never forget.”
Probably the biggest down side to the whole affair has been the humiliation endured by Bieze over his weight problem. Hundreds of people who watched the video of the taser incident complained that at numerous places in the video, the scene was obscured by the deputy constable’s huge gut. As the 72-year-old great grandmother cowers on the ground, crying and screaming for mercy, Bieze’s humungous abdomen extends over most of the frame like a dark blimp.
“He either needs to go on a diet or we need to go to a new wide-screen format,” said an unnamed county employee.