Thursday, July 17th 2008, Dayton Ohio Police arrived at the home of 49 year old Denise Harris, looking for her son, a robbery suspect. A blind woman, Denise Harris of a Fernwood Avenue apartment opened the door to the police and told them that her son was not there. This is when the accounting splits into two different versions..
According to Denise Harris, she was on the telephone when a police officer said, "Hang up the phone! Hang up the phone!" Being in her own home she said, "No. This is my phone. I'm in my own home." This is when, according to Harris, he grabbed her, squeezed her arm and threw her on the futon. He was pulling at her clothes and even put his hand over her mouth to where she could not breathe. A neighbor views what is going on and after the police taser Harris is when the neighbor asked them why were they doing that and that Harris was blind.
However, according to police, when Harris answered the door, she was combative and punched one of the officers. When she resisted arrest is when, according to police, she was tasered. And only after she had been tasered did they realize she was blind.
To make matters worse, due to Harris' blindness and vulnerability, she had a painful experience regarding someone claiming they were the police at her door before. She was robbed as a result. This may explain any hostility or defensive actions on the part of Harris.
As well as being blind, Harris also suffers from diabetes and cancer. Sgt. Charles Anderson said that although the incident is under investigation, Harris will be charged with assaulting a police officer and resisting arrest. And because neighbors and relatives are outraged at her treatment, claiming it was excessive and unnecessary police force being used on a scared blind woman, Sgt. Anderson said that not only was her opening the door a voluntary act but that she should have told the officers she was scared.
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On the Internet:
- Police use taser on blind woman with cancer - WDTN News
- Blind Woman Tased By Dayton Police
- WHOITV News
- CNN Coverage of the Story - Video
- YouTube Video - of CNN video