A Tennessee sheriff said his deputies were forced to make a “split second judgement call” when they tasered a 19-year-old man in the back as he walked away from them because he had refused their commands.
But it turns out, Brett Elkins could not hear their commands because he is deaf.
And to make matters worse, the tasering caused the deaf teenager to lose his cochlear hearing implant, an $8,000 device that is smaller than a thumbdrive.
The incident took place on October 11 when Campbell County sheriff’s deputies were responding to a domestic dispute between at a house where Elkins’ friends lived, according to WATE.
Elkins had gone to a friend’s house to use their phone to have his mother pick him up. As he was leaving the house, he didn’t know that Campbell County deputies had been called there for a domestic dispute between Brett’s friends.
Jamie Wilhoit, Elkins’ mother, saying, “He was walking, he felt a shock, his arms fell beside him, and he fell over. He assumed it was his cochlear, that it had malfunctioned, that was the first thing he thought. He was scared and crying. His cochlear implant had died, the batteries weren’t working, it wasn’t charged.”
Elkins’ implant was new, it came from TennCare. He said somehow it fell off after being tased.
He and his mother went back to look for it, but it hasn’t been found.
Campbell County sheriff’s deputies later released Elkins after determining he had nothing to do with the domestic violence call to which they were responding.
And after local media got involved, the sheriff told the family they would pay to replace the device.
“Wow! Oh my God, oh, they cared, they cared,” said Elkins’ mother, Jamie Wilhoit, upon receiving the news.
But lost is the fact that there was no need to taser Elkins in the first place considering he was not a threat to anybody.