Attorney: Teen suffers brain damage after shocked by police - KCTV5

Attorney: Teen suffers brain damage after shocked by police

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INDEPENDENCE, MO (KCTV) -

An attorney for Bryce Masters and his family said the 17-year-old teen suffered brain damage after he was hit by the probes from an Independence police officer's stun gun.

Masters' heart stopped when the probes were fired very close to his heart. He was without oxygen for an extended period of time.

The teen continues to show improvement, and has been moved from Centerpoint Medical Center's intensive care unit to progressive care, attorney Daniel Haus said in a statement issued Friday afternoon.

"He is currently be evaluated by a team off occupation, speech and physical therapists," Haus said. "Bryce has suffered brain damage and the therapists and physicians are in the process of determining the extent and long-term effect of that damage."

The FBI is investigating whether excessive force was used or not.

At 5:07 p.m. Sunday, Officer Tim Runnels pulled Masters over near Main Street and Southside Boulevard after following him for several blocks. Masters was driving a gray 2000 Pontiac Grand Pix. There was a warrant for the arrest of a woman associated with the vehicle, which had dark tinted windows. Police are refusing to identity the woman or what the warrant was for.

Runnels said he approached the vehicle on the passenger side and ordered Masters to roll down the window.

"The driver partially rolled down the window a few inches. Officer Runnels reported that he detected an odor of marijuana coming from inside the vehicle," according to court documents. "The driver refused to completely roll down the passenger side window and asked Officer Runnels, 'Why? I can hear you!' Officer Runnels responded to the driver's side door where he opened the door."

Masters was holding his iPhone and "appeared to be recording the incident," according to the court document. Runnels repeatedly ordered the teen to exit the vehicle.

"The teen refused to exit and asked, 'Why? Am I under arrest?' Officer Runnels determined that the driver was actively interfering with his patrol investigation and informed the driver that he in fact was being placed under arrest. The driver refused to exit his vehicle and physically braced himself inside the vehicle to prevent the officer from extracting him. Officer Runnels attempted to physically remove the driver from the vehicle, but was unsuccessful," according to court records.

No backup officers had arrived at this point. Runnels pulled out his department-issued stun gun and again ordered Masters to exit the car.

"The driver refused the officer's commands and continued to brace himself inside his vehicle. Officer Runnels deployed his Taser, which struck the driver in the mid-section of his body," according to the search warrant application.

Three minutes after he first pulled the teen over, Runnels fired his stun gun at 3:10 p.m.

Haus said Masters immediately collapsed. He said doctors have determined that the stun gun's probes struck Masters near his heart and caused him to go into full cardiac arrest.

Paramedics arrived at 3:15 p.m. and took Masters to the Independence hospital at 3:27 p.m.

Runnels has been placed on administrative leave. He declined comment this week when KCTV5 went by his home.

"The Masters family is grateful for the continued concern and interest in Bryce's condition and prognosis," Haus said in his statement. "At this time, the Masters family is unable to comment about facts of this case pending the outcome of the ongoing investigation being conducted by the FBI."

Masters' father, Matt Masters, is a Kansas City Police Department officer and supervises the department's off-duty program. Masters and Runnels knew each other when they were police officers together. Runnels worked for the KCPD from 2007 through 2010.

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