Tasing of disabled student triggers lawsuit against Katy ISD

- Body cam images of a special education student being tased have triggered a federal civil rights lawsuit against the Katy Independent School District.

 Fiercely mocked in his Special Ed classroom, Javon Washington wanted nothing more than escape -- a brief respite from his Mayde Creek High School campus.

"He was trying to get out the door to get a breath, to calm himself down. It's in his plan. He's allowed to do that," said Holly Griffith Terrell, Javon's attorney.

But on November 30, 2016, a faculty member at Mayde Creek High said "no".

The 17-year-old with the mindset of a second grader, attempted to push past and a school resource officer rushes in, armed with a taser.

A brief struggle ensues for barely 20 seconds.

Javon Washington is then tased seven times in the space of 25 seconds. The intellectually challenged teenager can be heard screaming in agony.

As the boy lay handcuffed, in his own excrement, officer Elvin Paley unleashes a verbal attack.

"I did not not want to tase you, but you don't run s--t here! You understand!"

A minute later, Javon panics, fearing for his life.

"I can't breath, I can't breath! I'm going to f---ing  die!" screamed Javon, the taser wires still extending from his body.

"He thought he was going to die. When I see the video, I can see how he thought he was going to die," said Lori Washington, Javon's mother.

Lori Washington says a single call from from Mayde Creek could have preempted a crisis, but the school made no effort to contact her until EMS reached the scene.

"Somebody up there who I put my child with, to watch on my behalf, to teach him something, would sit up there and tase him that many times and all those people who worked in the school didn't say nothing," said Lori, her voice breaking with emotion.

Three times on the body cam recording Paley can be heard explaining his use of the taser.

"I got tired of wrestling with him, so I popped him," said Paley to Katy ISD Police supervisors.

"You got tired of wrestling with him for 30 seconds? You popped him seven times. No, absolutely not," said attorney Griffith Terrell.

Griffith Terrell and her firm Cirkiel and Associates are suing Katy ISD on Javon's behalf in U.S. District Court for violation of civil rights and discrimination under the Americans with Disabilities Act.

"It is very apparent he is a student with special needs. I'm pretty sure they wouldn't have tased another (typical) child for trying to go outside and get some air during the middle of the school day. He might have gotten in trouble. He might have gotten written up, but I have a hard time with that," said Griffith Terrell.

Reached for comment, Katy ISD issued a brief response.

"As is the case with many legal matters, the District is not in the position to comment on pending litigation. However, the safety of all of our students is our number one priority as we focus on creating environments conducive to learning and personal growth," said Claudia Deschamps, KISD spokesperson.

Lori Washington says her son is haunted with persistent nightmares, remains terrified of police and has been diagnosed with PTSD.

"He was treated like an animal," she says.

She's seeking accountability and waging this legal war, in part, to promote awareness.

"Got to make a change. Like I said, I know that I'm not the only one."

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