Delco man: Tasered by police after suffering seizure

Posted: March 20, 2014

CHESTER Authorities are investigating an incident in which a man alleges that a Chester police officer used a Taser on him when he had just suffered a seizure - puncturing his lung - and later arrested him for allegedly assaulting an officer and medic.

Darren Scott, 48, of Upland, is being held at the Delaware County jail in lieu of $100,000 bail on charges including aggravated assault of a law enforcement officer and resisting arrest.

On March 12, Scott was "extremely combative" and kicked paramedic Ramona Bucolo and grabbed and pushed Officer William Casey, who used a Taser on Scott twice while in the ambulance, according to the arrest affidavit. Casey believed Scott was under the influence of narcotics, it said.

"These charges came out of an event that wasn't handled properly," said Enrique Latoison, Scott's attorney, who added that Scott had smoked a small amount of marijuana the night before.

The incident is "under investigation," said Joseph Bail, Chester police commissioner. "We have no comment."

District Attorney Jack Whelan said his office would examine the allegations. "We look at it from the perspective of what a reasonable police officer would do," he said, adding that the Taser wasn't used until the paramedic was kicked in the chest.

Grant Gegwich, spokesman for Crozer-Chester Medical Center, which is cooperating with the investigation, said Bucolo was not treated for injuries.

Latoison said that when Scott came to after his seizure, "he felt like he was being electrocuted; his back was arcing." Scott was taken to surgery and he also suffered compression fractures as a result of the incident, Latoison said.

"You have a seizure and end up with a criminal case. How does that happen?" asked Latoison.

According to reports, on the afternoon of the incident, Betty Bagnato was waiting on Scott at Two Js Sandwich Shop on Highland Avenue when she noticed his eyes had rolled back in his head. She said she grabbed his clothes to steady him so he wouldn't fall.

Dawan Cox, who accompanied Scott, laid him on the floor. Scott's arms and hands were drawn up toward his chest and locked. He was shaking uncontrollably and unresponsive, and the seizure went on for a couple of minutes, he said. Police and medics were summoned.

Scott resisted suggestions he go to the hospital, both Cox and Bagnato said, but he was placed on a stretcher and taken to the ambulance.

"He was disoriented," said Precious Scott, who tried to talk to her husband by phone. She said he had no history of seizures.

Cox, 30, said that he heard Darren Scott scream inside the ambulance, presumably when the Taser was used on him, and then Scott screamed two or three more times.

Bucolo told Casey that Scott did not have a seizure, according to the affidavit.

Latoison said Scott had suffered a "grand mal seizure," which is associated with epilepsy, according to medical experts.

"Seizures can result in someone being unresponsive even to someone in authority," said Angela Ostrum, vice president of public policy and advocacy with the Epilepsy Foundation. She said the agency encounters more than 400 cases annually in which those who suffered seizures end up being charged with assault or resisting arrest.


mschaefer@phillynews.com

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