"Man with a gun" call...turned taser party for random guy and wife
Someone probably called in "man with a gun" on some CCWer. Cops think, oh no, another mall shooting! Then guy gets tased for matching the description and resisting. I don't think the cops were necessarily wrong, but it maybe could have been handled better?.
What is the typical LEO response to man with a gun when nobody was threatened and there is no gun in sight? He did have a series of arrests, so possibly he ditched the gun or something if it was him.
Police defend action after report of gun
Man hit with Taser at mall
Samara Kalk Derby — 12/25/2007 6:27 am
Madison police scuffled with and then Tasered a 44-year-old man at lunchtime on Christmas Eve in the crowded food court at West Towne Mall. The man's wife also was struck by a Taser probe accidentally.
Officers were sent to the mall just before 1:30 p.m. looking for a man with a gun, after someone at the mall called 911 anonymously. Officers arrived dressed in full military-style police gear and observed a man matching the suspect's description standing in the middle of the food court.
Police attempted to make contact with the suspect, later identified as Major T. Lemon, and escort him from the crowded mall area. According to police, Lemon had his hand in his pocket and began to physically resist. At that point, officers took control of Lemon's other arm.
Lemon allegedly then made statements that he was going to punch an officer. Based on the weapon information and Lemon's physical resistance, officers attempted to place him on the floor. Because of the wet, snow-covered tile, they were unable to take Lemon to the ground.
An additional officer responded, observed the struggle, and deployed his Taser device. One of the probes struck Lemon and the other probe struck Lemon's wife. Both were secured in handcuffs. Lemon's wife was later released with no charges or injuries. No weapon was found on Lemon.
Lemon made statements that he had a heart condition, so the Madison Fire Department responded and later took him to St. Mary Hospital's emergency room, where he was evaluated medically, cited by police for resisting and obstructing, then released.
"Officers received specific information about an individual in the mall. They received clothing information and other types of information about this individual at the mall and that this individual had a gun. That's why they approached him," said Sgt. David Samson.
The altercation happened in front of the gelato booth Paciugo.
"I didn't think it was right. A bunch of people were in here shopping. There were kids in here," said Tara Emery-Walls, general manager at Arby's.
Those eating in the food court quickly left their tables and scattered, she said.
"It's not right to do that on Christmas," said Emery-Walls, who added that the police should have waited to talk to Lemon until he was out of the mall. "They don't have to bring that in here."
A young woman working at Paciugo said the Italian ice cream stand was not busy at the time. Everyone was watching the incident.
The worker, who wouldn't give her name, said she was slightly afraid and called the incident "freaky."
She said the struggle lasted for about two minutes.
West Towne Mall general manager Paul Matyas said his security officer was the one who identified Lemon for police.
He called the incident an isolated situation. "We promote a safe and friendly shopping environment," Matyas said.
Lemon has a long history of arrests, dating back to 1990. In that time, he has been charged with disorderly conduct nine times.
In an interview Monday on WISC-TV, Lemon said he was unfairly targeted by police and was just out shopping with his family. Family members talked of suing the police department.
It obviously is an unfortunate incident," said Sgt. Samson, "but the officers have one of two ways of handling a situation like that. In either of those cases, the officers have to do something."
He said officers can do what they did, which
was make contact with the person and assess the situation. Or they could simply identify the person from the dispatcher's description and go in with guns drawn and order that person to the ground.
"Obviously, with the lack of cooperation and resistance, that causes the officers to escalate to gain control of the situation,"