Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Corrections sergeant shocks kids with stun gun during prison visit

It was "Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day" at the Franklin Correctional Institution, and Sgt. Walter Schmidt wanted to give the kids an idea of what their parents do.

So he took out a handheld stun device and zapped them with 50,000 volts of electricity.

The children, whose ages are not available, reportedly yelped in pain, fell to the ground and grabbed red burn marks on their arms. One was taken to a nearby hospital.

DOC spokeswoman Jo Ellyn Rackleff said in an e-mail, "We believe that a number of children may have received a shock."

Schmidt, the arsenal sergeant at the Panhandle prison, said he asked parents for permission to shock the kids.

"When they said 'sure,' I went ahead and did it," he said by phone Friday.

Three days after the April 24 incident, Warden Duffie Harrison wrote Schmidt that his "retention would be detrimental to the best interests of the state" because he had "engaged in inappropriate conduct while demonstrating weapons … to several kids during a special event at the institution.''

"You tased at least two kids to demonstrate the EID, which is in direct violation of procedure and placed the department at risk of litigation," Harrison wrote.

Schmidt was terminated after 14 years with the Department of Corrections.

"It wasn't intended to be malicious, but educational," Schmidt said. "The big shock came when I got fired."

DOC Secretary Walt McNeil expressed concern for the children, whose names were not released, and ordered a full investigation into the matter.

Schmidt said he could not give more details about what happened because of the investigation.

Electronic Immobilization Devices such as the one Schmidt demonstrated are typically used to subdue unruly or uncooperative inmates.

Unlike the Taser, which is fired at a distance and delivers its shock via dart-tipped wires, the EID Schmidt used must be in direct contact with the person to shock them. The 50,000 volts emitted by the device are 450 times as strong as the current in a household electrical outlet.

EIDs work by temporarily disrupting the person's neural and muscular systems. Deaths have been attributed to the devices, though other factors such as drug use and other health problems are often said to play a role.

Meg Laughlin can be reached at mlaughlin@sptimes.com.

Corrections sergeant shocks kids with stun gun during prison visit 05/01/09 [Last modified: Monday, May 4, 2009 3:36pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Bucs have chance to beat Vikings in their third stadium

    Bucs

    Here's a cool sign that the Bucs are getting up there as an NFL franchise: If Tampa Bay can win Sunday at U.S. Bank Stadium, it will mark the first time the Bucs have posted road wins against the same NFL opponent in three different stadiums.

    TIMES ARCHIVES (2012) | Bucs RB Doug Martin runs during Tampa Bay's 36-17 win at the Vikings in 2012, in what was then called Mall of America Field. If Tampa Bay wins Sunday, it will mark the first time they have road wins against the same NFL opponent in three different stadiums.
  2. Memorial for Snooty the manatee, postponed because of Irma, to be held Sunday

    Wildlife

    A public memorial to celebrate the life of 69-year-old Snooty the manatee will be held at the South Florida Museum on Sunday from noon to 5 p.m.

    Snooty , the world's most celebrated manatee, begs for another slice of apple in his pool in the Parker Manatee Aquarium at the South Florida Museum in Bradenton in 2008. Snooty was 60 then. [Times 2008]
  3. Residents wade through a flooded road after the passing of Hurricane Maria, in Toa Baja, Puerto Rico, Friday, September 22, 2017. Because of the heavy rains brought by Maria, thousands of people were evacuated from Toa Baja after the municipal government opened the gates of the Rio La Plata Dam. [Associated Press]
  4. NFL commissioner, players' union angrily denounce Trump comments on national anthem

    Bucs

    SOMERSET, N.J. — The National Football League and its players' union on Saturday angrily denounced President Donald Trump for suggesting that owners fire players who kneel during the national …

    President Donald Trump walks off the stage after he speaks at campaign rally in support of Sen. Luther Strange, Friday, Sept. 22, 2017, in Huntsville, Ala. [Associated Press]
  5. New earthquake, magnitude 6.1, shakes jittery Mexico

    World

    MEXICO CITY — A strong new earthquake shook Mexico on Saturday, causing new alarm in a country reeling from two still-more-powerful quakes this month that have killed nearly 400 people.

    Locals play pool at a venue in Mexico City's La Condesa neighborhood, Friday, Sept. 22, 2017, four days after the 7.1 earthquake. The upscale Mexico City neighborhood was one of the hardest hit, with more than a half-dozen collapsed buildings in the immediate vicinity. The few Condesa residents who ventured out Friday night said they were anxious for relief from an anguishing week. [Associated Press]