Shocking moment female Tulsa police officer laughs and says ‘this is going to be fun’ before Tasing and arresting 70-year-old bipolar woman in the middle of a mental health episode
Body camera footage shows the shocking moment a female police officer laughed as she taunted a mentally-ill 70-year-old who locked herself in the bathroom during a manic episode.
The recently shared video, edited down from 90 minutes of body camera footage released last year by the Tulsa Police Department, purports to show female police officer Ronni Carrocia banging on a bathroom door as she laughed and told one of her colleagues: ‘This is going to be fun.’
An Emergency Medical Service worker told the officers when they arrived at the scene of the Habitat for Humanity ReStore in Tulsa, Oklahoma, on October 25, 2021, that the victim, LaDonna June Paris, 70, was bipolar and was having a manic episode and had shut herself into the bathroom, according to the video.
The EMS worker tells Carrocia: ‘We couldn’t make her do anything, so we called you guys for assistance, and then she just took off.’
But when officers arrived on-scene at the restroom, Carrocia can be seen threatening the woman with a Taser, as she asks, ‘Do you want to get Tased?’ to which Paris can be heard saying: ‘Don’t do it. Why are you doing this?’
Paris can also be heard pleading with Carrocia, saying: ‘Get away from me, get away, get away’ after she rattled the door. In response, Carrocia laughs and tells one of her colleagues: ‘I love my job.’
Soon, Paris can be heard saying, ‘The cops are trying to kill me here.’
The Tulsa Police Department, however, has said in a statement that the officers at the scene that day were acting within the department’s policies – although it noted that their communications with each other could be ‘perceived as unprofessional.’
Ronni Carrocia, a Tulsa police officer, was caught in body camera footage banging on a bathroom door at the Habitat for Humanity ReStore in an attempt to get a bipolar woman to come out, as she laughed
Carrocia could be heard telling one of her colleagues: ‘I love my job’ and saying she hoped a certain officer would come so he could pepper spray the woman
Paris was eventually taken into custody and was charged with attempted arson, assault and battery upon a police officer, resisting an officer, trespassing and cruelty to animals. Those charges were eventually dropped by a judge, citing her mental status
An EMS worker had told the officers on the scene that the woman, 70-year-old LaDonna Paris, was bipolar and was having a manic episode
As Carrocia and another officer are waiting for a third officer to come in to break down the door, Carrocia can be heard saying she hopes it is a specific officer ‘because I really like the way he works.
‘He is going to pound the door open and spray her,’ Carrocia says, apparently referring to pepper spray.
Finally, the third officer arrives and breaks down the door, at which point officers can be seen tackling Paris to the ground.
As they get her to stand up, a gash on the side of her face is visible, with cops remarking that they had to clean up the blood from the ground.
The video ends after Paris was taken into custody, when a female officer – presumably Carrocia says: ‘If you are going to play stupid games, you are going to win stupid prizes.
‘I’m just – I’m over it.’
A third officer eventually showed up on the scene to break down the bathroom door
Officers promptly pushed Paris to the ground, and blood could be seen gushing from her face
Tulsa police have now issued a statement saying the officers’ overall actions and the way they handled the call was within the department’s policies, though they noted: ‘To be clear, the banter between the officers outside of the presence of the suspect can be [perceived] as unprofessional and has been addressed with the officers.’
Police explained in the two-page statement that officers were called to the Habitat for Humanity ReStore by an employee who said Paris had been there for hour hours, and left a dog in her U-Haul truck.
The department had hoped to have their Community Response Team, which includes mental health specialists, respond to the call, they said, but no members of the team were available at the time.
Officers then spent 15 minutes trying to talk to Paris at the door to get her to come out, the statement says, and when she refused: ‘The officer continued to attempt verbal coercion and rattling the door to get Paris to comply with the lawful order to come out.’
Police say Paris then asked to speak to the manager of the ReStore, whom officers got on the phone to demand that she leave the bathroom, but Paris refused to believe it was actually the manager and ‘dismissed it.’
Officers later reportedly noticed ‘that Paris had been spraying an aerosol can and had a lighter,’ at which point they secured a fire extinguisher and started to formulate a plan to bring another officer to the scene.
In another attempt to get Paris to unlock the door, police claim, Carrocia ‘activated her Taser to make an arc sound hoping that that auditory stimulus would prompt Paris to open the door.’
After about half an hour, police report, the third officer arrived on the scene and broke down the door to the bathroom.
‘While the use of OC spray was discussed, the officers chose to not use it and try to control Paris’ hands instead,’ the Tulsa Police Department’s statement says, noting: ‘Paris did sustain a minor injury to her face when officers were taking her into custody on the floor of the bathroom.’
Still, police say, she continued to resist arrest and kicked one of the officers as she was brought to the Tulsa County Jail.
The Tulsa Police Department has now released a two-page statement explaining what had happened on October 25, and saying that the officers were handling the situation in accordance with the department’s policies
Paris was eventually charged on October 28 with attempted arson, assault and battery upon a police officer, resisting an officer, trespassing and cruelty to animals.
She was held in the Tulsa County Jail for about a month before the case was dismissed on November 23 ‘in the interest of justice and civil diversion,’ Tulsa World reported.
The judge cited Paris’ mental health when dismissing the charges, and now a law firm has taken up her apparent police brutality case.
‘Solomon-Simmons Law has been retained to represent Ms. LaDonna Paris, a 70-year-old black great-grandmother and seminary student who was taunted, harassed and antagonized by Tulsa Police Department officers before they brutalized her while placing her under arrest for behavioral manifestations of a mental health disorder in October 2021,’ the law firm said in a statement to KFOR.
‘The TPD officers involved were fully aware that Ms. Paris was having a bipolar manic episode, yet they still viciously provoked and attacked Ms. Paris while laughing off her disability as if it were a joke,’ the lawyers continued.
‘We are disgusted by this outrageous behavior caught on video and the fact that the Tulsa Police Department has attempted to shift the blame for the incident onto the victim of a mental health episode and police brutality.
‘We are even more troubled by the Tulsa Police Department’s frequent practice of ignoring and even outright condoning their officers’ discriminatory treatment and humiliation of violence toward people who suffer from mental health disorders, especially African-Americans.’
They said they plan to hold a press conference so that Paris could tell her side of the story and ‘look forward to doing everything in our power to hold the officers involved in the attack and the Tulsa Police Department accountable for their shameful and unlawful, discriminatory actions, and to seek justice for Ms. Paris.’