Officials: Ex-Jackson County, Kansas, deputy used Taser on child with autism
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A state law enforcement oversight board reprimanded a Kansas sheriff’s deputy who used his Taser on a 12-year-old boy with autism while the boy was handcuffed and hogtied in the deputy’s vehicle.
However, the Kansas Commission on Peace Officers’ Standards and Training chose not to revoke the law enforcement certification for former Jackson County deputy Matthew Honas despite finding that he used excessive force against the boy.
Honas was terminated from the Jackson County Sheriff’s department in March, The Topeka Capital-Journal reported.
The standards commission said on Feb. 23 Honas tied up the boy, who had run away from foster care, in a way that threatened his ability to breathe properly.
Honas was not wearing a body camera but the encounter was captured on his in-car camera.
Honas knew the boy, identified as L.H., was autistic and had struggled with him during a previous encounter, the commission said.
Honas “struggled with, shoved, elbowed, applied pressure points, carried, pulled, ‘hog-tied’ and ultimately tased L.H.,” the commission said.
The commission said Honas used the Taser on the boy without warning as he was sitting in the patrol vehicle with his feet outside the vehicle. At the time, L.H. was handcuffed behind his back, with the handcuffs connected to shackles on his ankles.
Among other things, Honas also refused help from other available officers, did not call a transport van, used profanity and threatened to use his Taser on the boy again, the commission said.
Michelle Meier, the commission’s legal counsel, said Monday she couldn’t comment on specific actions taken by the commission.
The Capital-Journal filed an open records request for the video from the in-car camera, but it was rejected by Jackson County counselor Lee Hendricks on Monday.
Hendricks said the state’s Open Records Act allows criminal investigation records to be kept secret. He didn’t say which agency was investigating Honas.
Editor’s Note: The headline has been updated to reflect that Honas was a former Jackson County, Kansas, deputy, and not Johnson County.
Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.