A Langley woman says she was ‘tasered’ by police without cause in her home, and now her young daughter, who witnessed the event, is traumatized.
Sabrina Clements said she was having a manic episode — her first in 19 years — when police came into her home and an officer shot her with a conducted electrical weapon (commonly known as a TASER).
Her neighbours called police when they heard her repeating the same phrases and making noise in her apartment, with the door open.
Clements said she had been holding a small metal statue of a blue heron — which has sentimental value relating to her father — in her hand and when the officers told her to drop it, she did.
She said she thought the weapons pointed at her were firearms.
“I turned to them; I didn’t even move; I may have pivoted but I was like: ‘You’re going to shoot me?’ And they shot me in the heart.”
A painful shock
“It felt like something had gone through your heart and then stuck there,” she said. “It feels like, ‘Oh my god, if I move, my heart is going to explode.'”
The incident happened in Clements’s apartment in a YWCA building for single mothers on Fraser Highway on June 9 at approximately 9 p.m.
Langley RCMP have confirmed that they were there on that day but have declined to respond to questions about specific events or the detachment’s protocols around responding to mental health situations and the use of conductive electrical weapons.
Langley RCMP Cpl. Holly Largy said her detachment has a mental health liaison officer who, among other duties, assists on “mental health-related calls.”
Largy did not say if this officer responded to the call to Clements’s apartment but said, in an email: “This one person is not working 24/7 and can’t always be readily available for these situations.”
Clements said she believes the police could have handled the situation better.
“They could have said, ’Hey, what’s going on here, do you need some help? Do you have medication?’ There’s so many things that they could have done before shooting me.”
Young daughter traumatized
In addition to being traumatizing for her, Clements said the incident has badly affected her daughter, Emily.
“She thinks aliens came into the house and shot mommy and she thinks aliens — which is the ambulance — took away mommy,” said Clements.
“She’s traumatized. She doesn’t want to go to school: ‘No they’re going to come back and take you, mommy. They’re going to shoot you, mommy.’
“And I have to tell her, ‘No, mommy’s strong.’ And I have to convince her — that’s the part that I’m outraged about.”
Clements said she was aware of the fact she was in a manic state. She was repeating phrases, such as “Out, evil” and “blue, blue, pink, pink” and had broken a glass candle holder by the door to her apartment.
Despite this, she had set up her daughter watching TV and had the presence of mind to warn the police about the glass when they arrived, she said.
“I even said ‘Look out for the glass,’ as I’m saying ‘out out, evil’ — I’m polite.”
Clements said she had the presence of mind to ask a neighbour to drive her to pick up her daughter from school earlier that afternoon and had her sister over to help, but she was unable to stay.
Clements said her state of mind on June 9 was the culmination of several days of little to no sleep and a high amount of stress.
She had attended a three-day prayer ceremony on the Musqueam reserve for a close friend who had died.
“It was a very upsetting funeral to be at. There were a lot of emotions… So I get back and I’m wrought; I’m emotionally, physically, psychologically — all of the above — drained.”
She said she had sought help from a doctor and reached out to family while she felt herself slipping into a manic state.
She said she did not want to go to a hospital or call 911 because she feared her daughter would be taken away by Child Protection Services.
Clements said she was brought to hospital where she spent five days and was released with a doctor telling her she was “sane as rain.”
The Langley RCMP has now issued a response regarding their involvement in this incident.
“It is important to keep in mind that police did respond to complaints on June 9 at a location along Fraser Highway,” the statement, issued by the RCMP reads.
“Our primary goals, once we arrived, were to assess the situation, reduce any threats and ensure the safety of all involved. Efforts were made to de-escalate the situation, respecting that a child was present,” the Langley RCMP responds.
“Officers used multiple tactics, including a less lethal deployment of a CEW (Conductive Electrical Weapon), which did allow them to gain immediate control and apprehend the individual without further incident. The individual was then taken for immediate medical assessment and arrangements were made for the child.”
The Langley Detachment Commander Supt. Murray Power has personally reviewed the matter and confirmed that the actions taken by the officers represent a measure approach, addressed the immediate safety concerns and ultimately allowed for an apprehension without further incident.
“While the individual involved may have questions about the tactics used and their impacts, the primary goals were accomplished and support is available moving forward.”