No answers forthcoming in Rialto police's use of Taser on boy

Wesley G. Hughes, Staff Writer
Posted: 11/23/2008 09:48:57 PM PST

I sympathize with the police. They never know where the dispatcher will send them next and what kind of hot water it will put them in.

But sometimes after an incident, as in the case of Rialto PD a few days ago, they slam a lid on information and then put out a press release admonishing parents and giving a whole new direction to what happened. The headline reads "PARENT'S (sic) PLEASE EDUCATE YOUR KIDS."

What was it really all about?

One kid's parents were out of town so she decided to have a school ditching party. She didn't consider that the grandparents would be checking.

Grandparents drove up, and kids ran in every direction. They figured their granddaughter was in school and they had happened upon a burglary. They called the police.

Police raced to what they felt was a felony in progress. They started chasing kids.

Police spotted one kid hiding under a car.

"He was ordered to surrender, resisted and was eventually taken into custody after police deployed the Electro- Muscular Disruption Device (Taser)," the news release said.

Lt. Joe Cirilo, the department's information officer, said he wasn't there but was told that when the kid crawled out from under the car, he took a combative stance.

They tasered the school-skipper, he fell and hit his head on the pavement, and it knocked him unconscious. They took him to Arrowhead Regional Medical Center in Colton for treatment and removal of one Taser dart. The release says nothing about his condition, but Cirilo said he was fine.

He was released to his parents - as were three of his pals, who were also scooped up. Each was charged with loitering, and the injured kid was also charged with resisting arrest. Police also notified the school district about the ditchers.

"The Rialto Police Department urges all parents to please educate your children on the inherent dangers of `ditching school parties,' when in fact their children should be at school in a safe controlled environment," the release advised.

I called Lt. Cirilo and asked him if he had ever skipped school. "Oh, not at all." I couldn't see his face.

I asked him for parents' phone numbers, and he said it's a juvenile matter. I said, "I don't want to talk to the juvenile."

"I'm not at the office," Cirilo said, adding that he was off for the weekend.

"Who takes your place when you are off?" I asked.

"Nobody does my job," he said.

"Surely the information is on the crime report," I responded.

"I don't know if the report was completed," Cirilo said.

I'm sure Cirilo is a fine fellow, but there is a lot of distance between him and the officers in the field. That was obvious from our conversation.

I'd love to talk to the parents of the kids involved, especially those of young Taser Guy.

And I'd love to talk to the officers who responded.

I'm easy to reach.

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