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Parents of Bastrop teen Tased by school officer file federal suit

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TWC News: Parents of Bastrop teen Tased by school officer file federal suit
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The parents of a Bastrop teenager currently in a coma after being shocked with a Taser by a school resource officer have filed a federal lawsuit against the deputy who stunned him, the school district and the county.

Seventeen-year-old Noe Niño de Rivera has been in a medically-induced coma since Nov. 20 when he was Tased by Bastrop County Deputy Sheriff and School Resource Officer Randy McMillan during a fight at Cedar Creek High School.

"If you're gonna put a police officer in a high school then you need to be able to deal with teenagers," Rivera's lawyer, high-profile injury attorney Adam Loewy said at a press conference Tuesday.

The lawsuit says two female students were fighting in the hallway when McMillan called for another school resource officer to help him diffuse the situation. Rivera feared things would escalate before reenforcement could arrive, the lawsuit states, and began to break up the fight.

That is when McMillan told Rivera to back away. The court document says the teenager began to walk backwards with his hands up when McMillan shocked him with the Taser.

"It is insane to me that he decided to Tase this young man in response to a young man breaking up a fight," Loewy said.

Rivera fell to the ground and hit his head on the floor, causing permanent injury to his brain. He was airlifted to a nearby hospital where it was determined he had suffered a severe a brain hemorrhage and was put into a medically-induced coma.

Last week officials with the Bastrop County Sheriff’s Office said Rivera was acting aggressively before the Taser was used. A sheriff's spokesperson said the two officers ordered the teen to back off, but he ignored their commands, prompting McMillan to use the Taser.

Still, the lawsuit says Rivera “posed no imminent threat of death or serious injury” to McMillan and the deputy was unlawful in his use of force.

The court document also says McMillan used a Taser on another student one year ago, and says the school district and the county sheriff’s office failed to discipline him correctly.

"We also received information that this officer was not well-liked by students at the school. He was very aggressive," Loewy said. "Some consider him a bully."

School and county officials are not commenting at this time.

The suit, filed Monday in U.S. District Court, asks for a jury trial along with compensation for damages and attorney fees. The suit seeks to prove Bastrop County is guilty of inadequate use of force supervision, excessive force against minorities, inadequate system to discipline/weed out dangerous officer, failure to investigate use of force and inadequate training.

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