|Independence, MO (KCTV) — Family and friends are questioning the use of force by Independence police after a struggle with an officer sent a 17-year-old to the hospital.
The officer used a stun gun on the teenager who is now in critical condition.
Friends say Bryce Masters is in a medically induced coma because of injuries to his brain. They are hoping the teenager pulls through.
They are cooling his body to try and reduce swelling that may have been caused by hitting his head on the concrete or losing oxygen for a long period of time.
Curtis Martes stepped outside to welcome Masters to his house in the 200 block of Southside Boulevard about 3:30 p.m. Sunday, only to find that a police officer had pulled his friend over.
“The cop went up to the passenger window and was like, ‘hey, roll down the window,'” Martes said.
However, Martes says Masters couldn’t roll it down.
“He doesn’t have the cable that allows the electric window to work,” Martes said.
But Independence police said Masters had an outstanding traffic violation and refused to cooperate with the officer.
“I believe he did crack the window but did not roll it down any further. He was just being completely uncooperative with the officer,” Sgt. Darrell Schmidli said.
That’s when things got rough.
Police say the officer did what he had to do to protect himself because the teen began to struggle with the officer.
“The driver refused to exit the vehicle. A struggle ensued, 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,” Sgt. Darrell Schmidli said.
However, witnesses describe a different scene.
“The cop was like, ‘you want to mess with me,’ and pulled out his Taser and tased him. I thought he shot him. Then he pulled him out of the car handcuffed him and drug him around the car,” witness Michelle Baker said.
Schmidli said Masters was warned the officers were going to use a stun gun and still refused to cooperate.
“It looked like he hit his head on the concrete. You could see blood coming out of his mouth. The cop put his foot on his back and moved it back and forth like he was putting a cigarette out and asked him, ‘are you ready to get up now?’ You could tell the kid was going into convulsions,” Baker said.
Witnesses who saw the whole thing happen say they watched Masters die and then come back to life after emergency crews resuscitated him.
Abigail Edwards, a co-worker of Masters, says witnesses and friends want an investigation into how the incident was handled.
“It doesn’t make sense. He didn’t deserve it. I know he didn’t do anything to deserve it because his father is a cop. He knows better than to do stuff like that,” Edwards said.
Masters’ father is an officer with the Kansas City Police Department.
KCTV5 News is checking in with police to see what is next for the investigation.