SBI investigates charges of excessive tasing against Polk woman

Published 4:31 pm Thursday, January 8, 2009

Hill was not even employed by the sheriff&squo;s office at the time, he says.

Allison Howard, of Columbus, says she was tasered between 12 and 16 times by&bsp; former Polk sheriff officers Derrick Twitty and Josh Denton. Howard claims the tasing occurred while she was handcuffed and shackled, some of it while she was handcuffed to a chair. Howard also says she was tasered by two Tryon police officers.

Neither Twitty and Denton were rehired by sheriff Hill and are no longer employed with the county. The Bulletin was unable to reach former officers Denton and Twitty for comment.

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Howard says on Oct. 28 she was at Elmo&39;s Pub & Grill in Tryon and mistakenly thought the woman working behind the bar was an ex-friend who owed her money. She admits she had a couple of drinks and stole the tip jar. Howard also admits she broke&bsp; a window out of Tryon&squo;s police car with the handcuffs while tapping on the window for her friend and accidentally kicked a Tryon officer.

When the Polk County Sheriff&squo;s Office deputies arrived, Howard claims officers Denton and Twitty tased her while she was on the ground.

&dquo;Joshua Denton and Derrick Twitty had me on the ground and tased me unmercifully,&dquo; Howard says.

Howard was then taken to the sheriff&squo;s office, where she says she was tasered again, this time while handcuffed to a chair.

&dquo;I made a mistake and I&squo;ve paid for my mistake,&dquo; Howard says. &dquo;When you are placed in the hands of police officers they are not suppose to abuse or attack you. They chose to continue on like a game and continue to tase me.&dquo;

Howard still has several scars on her legs where she was tasered. She says she was tasered on both legs, her stomach and her chest.

She says the tasing made her jerk and shake and black out. She felt nothing but thousands of volts of electricity going through the body, she said, and she couldn&squo;t control anything.

Howard was taken from Polk County to Raleigh to undergo a mental evaluation. She says she spent 23 days in Raleigh and at no time under Polk County&squo;s watch was she given the opportunity for bond.

On Nov. 19, Howard pled guilty to assault on a government official. The charges of larceny and injury to personal property were consolidated into the assault charge and she was sentenced to one year supervised probation, restitution of $208 and court costs. Once the restitution is paid, Howard&squo;s sentence will decrease to unsupervised probation.

A bartender at Elmo&squo;s said on Monday that she saw Howard kick an officer, and even after she was tasered she broke the police window.

Howard says someone anonymously contacted the district attorney&squo;s office about the incident, not her. She also says she is planning on suing the county because of the incident.

&dquo;I do not believe anybody deserves to be treated the way that they did to me,&dquo; Howard says.

Sheriff Hill says it&squo;s his understanding that a final report from the SBI has not yet been handed to the district attorney&squo;s office and no indictments have been scheduled.