Texas Constable Quits After Shocking Student at School

April 21, 2011
A deputy constable has resigned after using a Taser on a student, despite a policy against carrying Tasers in schools.

BAYTOWN, Texas --

A deputy constable has resigned after using a Taser on a student, despite a policy against carrying Tasers in schools, Local 2 Investigates reported Wednesday.

Two deputies from the Harris County Precinct 3 Constable's Office were struggling to remove a 15-year-old boy from a classroom at the High Point East School on March 22 when one deputy drew his Taser from his belt and applied it to the student's leg, producing an electrical shock.

The maneuver is known as a dry shock and did not involve firing the high-powered darts that are attached to wires that carry electrical current, according to Precinct 3 Constable Ken Jones.

Jones told Local 2 Investigates that "what he did was justified" in trying to bring the student under control. However, he said his policy does not allow deputies to carry Tasers inside schools. The constable also said the deputy was written up for failing to notify supervisors that force had been used against a student in a timely manner.

Jones said supervisors should have been notified immediately when force was used against the child, but instead, a report was not turned in until the following morning.

Deputy Jerry Grissom, 59, turned in his resignation after the investigation was completed.

The family of 15-year-old student Isavid Gonzalez said the boy was injured in the scuffle.

His mother, Montoya Isabel Gonzalez, told Local 2 Investigates, "I don't think that that was right at all. I don't think it had to go to that point. They didn't have to do that to him."

She admitted that her son may have resisted and made hand motions toward the officer, but added, "My son tells me that he was already on the ground when he got tased."

She said her son is taking medications and still needs X-rays and medical treatment from his ordeal. She displayed photos showing bloody marks on his neck and the side of his face.

Gonzalez said she was called and told to pick up her son at school that day, but no one mentioned that he was zapped with a Taser.

"My son yelled at me; you can hear him through the phone saying he got tased. They didn't mention that part to me and tell me about that," she said.

The Harris County Department of Education, which operates the High Point disciplinary alternative school, issued a written statement saying the deputy had always behaved in a professional and appropriate manner prior to this incident.

The complete statement from the education department is as follows.

"Harris County Department of Education (HCDE) has been informed that the deputy constable at the center of this story has resigned. Prior to the incident, the constable had always behaved in a professional and appropriate manner on campus. We have been pleased with the services provided by the Harris County Constable’s Office at this location as well as at our other locations. It is also important to note that HCDE has a contractual relationship with the Constable’s Office, and the deputies assigned to our campuses are governed by precinct policies and procedures. These policies and procedures have to do with law enforcement and are not our purview. We are cooperating with the appropriate authorities as precinct officials investigate this matter."

Grissom told Local 2 Investigates he resigned for a better job. He also said there was no delay in filing his report on the incident. He said the report was filed the same day the scuffle happened.

He reiterated what Jones said about the ordeal, pointing out that the child was unruly and that force was justified.

As far as the policy against Tasers in schools, Grissom told Local 2 Investigates, "I never received a copy until after this incident."

Jones said his department policy does not allow Tasers to be carried in courtrooms or in schools. He said he treated all schools the same because he felt that Tasers should not be necessary for school kids. However, he pointed out that he may consider a policy in the future to allow his deputies to carry Tasers in schools that cater to students with disciplinary problems such as High Point.

Jones pointed out that Grissom was certified and trained to carry a Taser, and he made no attempts to hide the weapon.

"He was wearing it," said the constable. He said a captain and other supervisors assumed that Grissom had gotten special permission to carry the Taser inside schools.

If you have a news tip or question for KPRC Local 2 Investigates, drop them an e-mail or call their tipline at (713) 223-TIPS (8477).Copyright 2011 by Click2Houston.com. All rights reserved.

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