Photo by Richard Haddad, WNI.
Prescott Valley police officers in foot pursuit of a teenage girl shocked her with a Taser to force her to stop running toward a busy street Thursday, Aug. 31, PVPD spokesman Sgt. Jason Kaufman said.
The girl, 16, was being transported to Maricopa County by the state Department of Child Safety (DCS) when she left the vehicle at the Woody’s Chevron on Highway 69 at about 12:45 p.m.
“Information received by responding PVPD officers led them to believe that the individual had escaped from the custody of law enforcement, specifically, the Department of Public Safety (DPS), which constitutes a felony offense,” Kaufman said.
The miscommunication seems to have arisen between the 911 call-taker, who was told by the calling party that she was from the DCS, and the dispatcher, who initially told officers responding to the call, “If you can assist DPS, actually, this will be Maricopa CPS transporting a juvenile female back to their jurisdiction … and the 16-year-old is now fleeing.”
The officer who used his Taser wrote in the police report that, first, he thought the girl was running from a DPS Trooper, and then, “Based on that (radio) information, I interpreted that the subject who was fleeing was in custody of the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office and was now escaping custody.”
The officers located the girl, whom they believed to be a fugitive, near Windsong Drive and Florentine Drive, and ordered her to stop, Kaufman said.
She did not stop, but instead “continued running toward the busy intersection of Windsong Drive and Florentine,” Kaufman said, “posing a threat to her safety and that of arriving law enforcement.
“In an effort to prevent the potential of further harm, a Taser was deployed by a Prescott Valley police officer, and the juvenile was apprehended,” Kaufman concluded.
The girl suffered minor injuries during the arrest, and was treated on the scene by medical personnel.
Later investigation revealed that she was a ward of the state and had not, in fact, escaped from law enforcement custody. According to the police report, she told police that she “ran to get more charges to stay in Yavapai County.”
The girl was arrested and booked into the county juvenile detention center, charged with being an incorrigible juvenile, a runaway, obstructing a public thoroughfare, public nuisance, and resisting arrest.