On Monday, the FBI announced that it is investigating the Independence Police Department after an encounter with an officer left a 17-year-old in a coma.
According to his friends, Bryce Masters is in a medically induced coma because of injuries he sustained during the traffic stop.
At around 3:30 p.m. on Sunday, Curtis Martes, a friend of Masters’, stepped outside to welcome Masters to his home on Southside Boulevard.
Martes then saw that a police officer had pulled Masters over; he recalls the cop standing by the passenger window and telling Masters to roll down the window.
According to Martes, Masters couldn’t roll the window down because “He doesn’t have the cable that allows the electric window to work.”
Independence Police said that Masters had an outstanding traffic violation and refused to cooperate with the officer.
As Sgt. Darren Schmidli said, “I believe he did crack the window but did not roll it down any further. He was just being completely uncooperative with the officer.”
According to Schmidli, “The driver refused to exit the vehicle.” A struggle ensued, during which, “a Taser was deployed by the officer. The driver was finally removed out of the car. A struggle ensued once he was moved out of the car.”
Schmidli noted that even after Masters was warned the officers were going to use a stun gun, he refused to cooperate.
Witnesses, however, recount a different series of events.
Witness Michelle Baker, who lives next door and captured cell phone footage of the encounter, describes that “The cop was like, ‘you want to mess with me,’ and pulled out his Taser and tased him.”
“I thought he shot him,” Baker said. “Then he pulled him out of the car, handcuffed him and drug him around the car.”
“It looked like he hit his head on the concrete. You could see blood coming out of his mouth,” Baker added, noting that the cop “put his foot on his back and moved it back and forth like he was putting a cigarette out.”
“You could tell the kid was going into convulsions,” Baker said.
Witnesses have said they watched Masters die and be resuscitated by emergency crews. Masters is now in critical condition; KCTV5 reports that his body is being cooled in an attempt to reduce swelling.
The Masters’ family attorney released a statement on Monday afternoon, stating that “because of significant inconsistencies between public statements made by the Independent Police Department and information made available to the family in the form of statement of eyewitnesses and video and audio footage of the occurrence, the family has asked the United States Department of Justice to conduct its own investigation into these tragic events.”
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