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Woman sues city of McAlester, others after Taser incident

by Andrew Knittle Modified: November 27, 2012 at 9:41 pm •  Published: November 28, 2012

— A woman is suing the city of McAlester after a city police officer used his Taser on her while she was handcuffed inside the Pittsburg County jail.

Nakina Williams, who filed the lawsuit in federal court last week, is seeking more than $2 million in punitive damages, court records show. The entire incident was captured on video surveillance cameras at the jail.

The city of McAlester, officer Sterling Taylor-Santino and Police Chief Jim Lyles are named as defendants in the suit, which alleges that Williams' civil rights were violated during the June 24 incident.

Taylor-Santino, 33, also has been charged with assault with a dangerous weapon in connection with the Taser incident. The officer, who remains on the police force, has pleaded not guilty in Pittsburg County District Court.

According to the lawsuit, the officer used excessive force as he dealt with the handcuffed Williams, who is less than 5 feet tall.

The suit also claims that Taylor-Santino, who initially was not aware the incident had been videotaped, lied on a report he filed in connection with the Taser episode.

“In his ‘use of force report,' (Taylor-Santino) sought to cover up and/or conceal his actions … by omitting that (Williams) was handcuffed when she was shot with the Taser,” the suit alleges. “As a result he was found to have acted ‘within policy' by police department officials.”

Williams' lawsuit also draws attention to the officer's “violent work history.”

“During his law enforcement career, (Taylor-Santino) has been involved with and instigated a disproportionate number of violent conflicts with suspects compared to other law enforcement officers in Pittsburg County,” the suit alleges. “Some of these resulted in allegations of excessive force being made by the suspects.”

When reached by phone Tuesday afternoon, Taylor-Santino said he had no comment about the federal lawsuit filed by Williams or the June 24 incident, referring all questions to his attorney.

Taylor-Santino did confirm that he is still a member of the McAlester Police Department, and Lyles said last month the officer would remain on restricted duty pending the resolution of his criminal case.

Phone messages left with McAlester City Manager Pete Stasiak and Lyles were not returned Tuesday.

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by Andrew Knittle
Investigative Reporter
Andrew Knittle has covered state water issues, tribal concerns and major criminal proceedings during his career as an Oklahoma journalist. He has won reporting awards from the state's Associated Press bureau and prides himself on finding a real...
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