|Family: Cop dart pierced girl's skull
| July 7, 2009
TUCUMCARI, N.M. (KRQE) - Tucumcari's police chief is on leave as a 14-year-old girl recovers from being shot in the head with a stun-gun dart that her family says penetrated her skull.
Kailee Martinez's family questions whether Chief Roger Hatcher used excessive force last week when he used his Taser gun on the girl. Hatcher has said he had no choice but to use the weapon, which delivers a disabling electric jolt, when the girl ran from him in a city park.
According to police Kailee had physically abused her mother during an argument on Thursday. According to a police report Kailee and her mother, Stacy Akin, argued over explicit cell phone messages and pictures the girl was sending to older men.
Akin took her daughter to the police station for help, the reported continued, but when they got there Kailee bolted to a local park.
"I just wanted help," Akin told KRQE News 13 Tuesday. "I didn't mean for my child to get injured the way she did.”
A look at Kailee's head reveals the 18 staples and six stitches her family said were necessary to put her skull back together. Doctors told them that one of the Taser's prongs went through Kailee's skull and hit her brain, they said.
"It's really painful," Kailee said.
By Kailee's account, when Hatcher caught up with her in the park she tried to walk away. She heard him tell her to stop but then ran from fear when she saw him unholster his Taser.
“He just decided to use the Taser,” Kailee said.
The Martinezes have retained a lawyer who has filed formal notice of the family's intent to sue the chief at the city.
"You just don't go and Tase a 14-year-old child," her father, Donny Martinez, said.
The police report states Hatcher told Martinez to stop running and warned her about the Taser. When she refused to stop, he fired.
Police told News they can't comment on this case because there is an ongoing investigation.
Hatcher is on administrative leave while an independent firm investigates the incident. Kailee's family claims the force he used was too aggressive.
“She's just a child,” Akin said.
The family said the situation is made worse because Kailee has epilepsy.
Donnie Martinez said that since the incident Kailee is having balance problems and can't climb stairs.