Questions Surround Handling of Taser Assaults on Disabled Patients

1 Aug

This story is out of California. Specifically, the story “Questions Surround Handling of Taser Assaults on Disabled Patients” comes from the California Report, a public radio program.

Someone using a stun gun like a cattle prod assaulted a dozen patients at the Sonoma Developmental Center last fall, inflicting painful thermal burns on their buttocks, arms, legs and backs.

The center’s in-house police force, the Office of Protective Services, had a suspect from the start. An anonymous whistle-blower called a tip line in September 2011 and accused Archie Millora, a caregiver at the Sonoma center, of abusing several profoundly disabled men with high-voltage probes.

The parallels between this and the Judge Rotenberg Center are obviously going to be made. Except that this isn’t part of any sanctioned “therapy” and, unlike JRC, there is no constant video monitoring.

What does exist is an internal police force. Which “often fails to conduct basic police work”:

As part of an ongoing investigation, California Watch has detailed how the institutions’ internal police force, created by the state to protect the vulnerable residents at these state homes, often fails to conduct basic police work when patients are abused and harmed.

The full text of the story is online and the audio is here:


by Matt Carey

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7 Responses to “Questions Surround Handling of Taser Assaults on Disabled Patients”

  1. Saraquill August 2, 2012 at 00:07 #

    I fail to see how electrocuting helpless people can be appealing.

    • Sullivan August 2, 2012 at 00:30 #

      It’s also not as though we pay enough for people to work in places like this. Why not just get a different job?

  2. Science Mom August 2, 2012 at 02:27 #

    Kassiane is spot on i.e. disabled people have a lot more to fear from so-called neurotypicals than the other way around. This is repulsive beyond words.

  3. susan August 3, 2012 at 01:18 #

    I think this shouldn’t ever be used and it can only cause more damage.

  4. Anne August 3, 2012 at 17:38 #

    This is heartbreaking. These are the adults whose existence is denied, forgotten even by their families. I’m sure we don’t know the half of it.

  5. Tammy August 4, 2012 at 22:42 #

    This is one of the reasons that I fear my son growing up. A time will eventually come when my husband and I will not be around to advocate for him. I just pray that our daughter will take over when we are no longer around.

    • lilady August 5, 2012 at 08:40 #

      @ Tammy: Sad to say that many of the congregate large developmental centers do breed some of these abusive practices.

      It seems to me you have many of the concerns about your son’s future that I had…more than thirty years ago.,,when my husband and I contemplated a future for him, in our absence. Indeed you have just one other child as I did, who was born very healthy and well adjusted just six years before my son was born with a rare genetic disorder that left him with profound physical, intellectual disabilities along with medical issues of actual immune suppression and a bleeding disorder as well (pancytopenia). For years his grand mal seizure was only partially controlled with an ever changing titration of some potent anticonvulsants.

      I was so fortunate to meet another family when our boys attended the same excellent part time early intervention program when they were one and two years of age, respectively.

      We knew that the ONLY option then for out of home residential care for our boys would be in one of these human warehouses, which we had both visited. We also come to the same conclusion that the 24/7 around the clock they required, would ideally be in for safe residential alternatives in an intensive care (round the clock nursing staff) Intermediate Care Facility.,,,that was in our own or neighboring
      communities. No such program existed then for young children.

      So that was our goal to become “politically” active by putting ourselves “out there” by becoming the “voices” for de-institutionalization/closing of these dehumanizing, isolating institution for the most vulnerable of children and adults. Never forget on these state “campuses” these disabled people are always “out of sight and out of mind”. Normalization only takes place when our children are living in homelike situations (right at home-right in the neighborhood).

      If you are fortunate as we were to find one like-minded parent or set of parents who contemplate their child’s future, as you are obviously doing now, you will find yourself testifying at hearings, you will meet highly placed individuals in your local and state mental retardation/developmental services offices, you’ll meet State and local legislators who are sympathetic to your plight and your concerns. You’ll be using your considerable blogging talents to write and submit articles to local and regional newspapers, you will become an “expert” who is called upon to offer opinions about services that are available and services that are not available, that should be implemented for assistance for caregivers of their own children. When the time comes for out of home residential care, you will meet people in key spots within government bureaucracies, who will assist you to get funding for the establishment of a group home that meets your child’s unique needs.

      I post frequently on science blogs and am a retired public health nurse. When I post it is on the basis of my science education and work experience. I do NOT agree that some children “might have been injured by vaccines”.

      You state succinctly that your child showed very early signs of autism, yet you have some sympathy for parents who hold on to the pseudoscience theories of a vaccine-autism link.

      This advice to you is offered sincerely. If you ever want to gain acceptance for yourself as an advocate…stay clear of anyone who is credulously holds on to the vaccine-autism theory. Their collective one-track minds will destroy your credibility, as you embark on the long journey to find a home for your son, once you are unable to care for him yourselves.

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