Case against Sheriff 's Office set for trial; Deputies accused of tasering allegedly intoxicated female

Christina Stueve Hodges Sep. 6, 2012, 9:00am


A Macoupin County woman's case against the Madison County Sheriff's Office and two of its deputies is set to go to trial Monday in Madison County Circuit Judge David Hylla's court.

Plaintiff Kelsi Baker is suing the department and two of its deputies - Jeremy Stumpf and Stewart Stiverson - for more than $50,000 for allegedly shocking her multiple times with a taser after placing her on her stomach during an arrest in Alton in 2006.

According to Baker's 2007 lawsuit, she was slumped over in the driver's side of a vehicle that had been parked in a driveway at 2832 Harris Ln., asleep or unconscious in her 2004 Oldsmobile Alero at 1:35 a.m. on Feb. 20, 2006.

The suit states that the deputies suspected Baker was driving under the influence of alcohol or intoxicants.

They were responding to a call made by Alton resident Maurice D. File, who reported an unknown vehicle was parked in his driveway with music playing.

Defendant Stumpf used his taser, delivering electric shocks to Baker who was on the ground, on her stomach, the suit says. Stumpf and Stiverson then handcuffed the plaintiff's arms behind her back, and she was placed in the back of their patrol vehicle, the suit says.

While Baker was in the back of the patrol car, the deputies used their taser weapons on her, administering "multiple, powerful electrical shocks," according to the lawsuit.

"At no point did plaintiff pose or provide reason to suspect she posed an immediate threat to the safety of the defendants or others," the suit states. "On the contrary, defendants Stumpf and Stiverson suspected plaintiff was excessively debilitated by intoxication, including lapses of consciousness, lack of motor function, and coherence."

Baker claims deputy Stumpf deprived her of her federal rights, including her Fourth Amendment right to be free from an unreasonable seizure.

She allegedly suffered "serious mental and emotional harm, including multiple bruises, contusions, burns and blurred vision," the suit states.

The defense denies the allegations.

In their reply to the lawsuit, the defense admits Baker was tased with a short dry sting after she ignored verbal commands to stop resisting arrest and continued swinging her arms.

The defendants say they saw Baker slumped over in the driver's side of the car and that an overwhelming odor of alcohol was coming from the car.

They also admit that Baker was handcuffed and placed in the back of the patrol car, but they deny the remaining allegations.

Baker is represented by Burton Newman and David Perney of St. Louis and David Wm. Horan of St. Louis.

The defendants are represented by Adam Rucker, John Gilbert and Heidi Eckert of Hinshaw Culbertson in St. Louis.

Madison County case number 07-L-61.

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