Former Independence MO Police Officer Timothy Runnels Pleads Guilty

This case brings me a level of  trust in the Department of Justice, while at the same time, causes me to question their impartiality.

In March 2015, a federal grand jury returned a four-count indictment against former Independence, Missouri, police officer Timothy Runnels for violating the constitutional rights of a minor who was in his custody and obstructing the subsequent investigation into the incident.

Per the Department of Justice:

“According to the indictment, Runnels continuously deployed a Taser against the minor while the minor was on the ground and not posing a threat to Runnels or others.  The indictment also charges that Runnels deliberately dropped the minor headfirst onto the ground while the minor was restrained and not posing a threat to Runnels or others.  The indictment alleges that the minor sustained bodily injury as a result of Runnels’ actions and, with respect to the first count, that the offense involved the use of a dangerous weapon.  The indictment also charges Runnels with two counts of obstruction of justice for filing a false police report concerning the incident and for making a false statement to Independence Police Department investigators regarding the amount of force that he used against the minor.”

Runnels had been on the Independence, MO police force for 2 years.

On September 14, 2014, Runnels stopped the high school senior, Bryce Masters, alleging that he made the traffic stop because of an outstanding warrant. Runnels said that he smelled marijuana and ordered Bryce out of the vehicle. Runnels tazed Bryce in the chest and threw Bryce to the ground. Bryce suffered a broken jaw and went into cardiac arrest with his brain swelling due to lack of oxygen.  It required that he be placed in a medical induced coma. Michelle Baker recorded the incident with her cell phone, and gave it to Bryce’s family and cooperated with the FBI.

“It’s been a year now, but I can still picture it all happening right there,” she said. “It was horrible.” I do hope the best for him (Bryce) and his family. Without the video they probably wouldn’t have done much. I’m glad I did it and justice was served for him because no one deserves to be treated like that,” said Baker.

On September 11, 2015, Runnels plead guilty and faces a statutory maximum sentence of 10 years in prison and a fine of $250,000.

Bryce’s dad is a police officer in Kansas City, MO.

This case does not involve motivation due to race.  It is strictly a case of violation of constitutional rights and obstruction of justice because Runnels did not tell the truth in his report.  Of course, the video helped.

So, what about Eric Gardner?  What about Sandra Bland?

Does the U.S. Attorney in Missouri take his job more seriously than U.S. Attorneys in other jurisdictions?

The below video is a compilation of news reports about the Runnels case.



Posted on 09/18/2015, in Bryce Masters, Cases, Cops Gone Wild and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 43 Comments.

  1. scrodriguez

    Kelly Thomas also comes to mind here and also the recent case you posted about Robert Tolan Jr. but look how long that took for Tolan to get resolved.

    • Hey Santiago! Right. Two sides to a story is knowledgeable of the Kelly Thomas incident. I remember her saying that at the trial of Ramos and Cincineli, (spelling?) that the judge would not play the video for the jury.

      What we do not see often now since the Rodney King incident, is the DOJ seeking indictment of law enforcement officers for violation of constitutional rights when state/county juries have acquitted. I’m sure they look at each on a case by case basis, but it’s becoming too common that victims like Tolan or the families of victims have to seek the civil court for redress. That does nothing to take abusive officers off the street. They are not held accountable, taxpayers pay any monetary judgments awarded in the civil courts, and it’s back to business as usual.

      • True – it was decided the video that clearly showed the harassment and murder of Kelly Thomas as he begged for his life would not be entered as evidence, a REAL travesty of justice. It is utterly heartwrenching and difficult to watch. Utterly no excuse for any of it.

        Ron Thomas’s (Kelly’s father, an ex-cop) case is still ongoing. Kelly’s mother sued the city and settled for money early on, but Ron’s case is more about civil rights and may be a federal case, I believe.

        On the good side, I believe there is now only one cop involved in that incident still on the streets. There were three but I believe that two have moved on. Ramos was recently arrested for domestic violence (his wife filed a complaint) but there was apparently not enough evidence to proceed with that charge.

        Cicinelli is still trying to get his job back even though he gets a 45k a year disability pension from LAPD (he was shot in the face and LAPD laid him off – there were apparently some aggression issues) and he works at the Huntington Beach Post Office. I believe it was the Fullerton police chief who said there’s no way Cicinelli would get his job back at a city council meeting that I attended in 2013.

    • Thanks for the reblog, dear friend. I saw a tweet yesterday, and it looks like your Twitter harasser is impersonating you through another Twitter handle, AGAIN. She must not have a life.

      • She has been impersonating me since March, when I joined Anonymous and her jealously/envy went theu her roof. No explanation for a sick diseased mind, I am afraid. Happy Autumn.

        • Jueseppi, she started stalking and harassing you because of her envy. She does her dirt on Twitter to keep her co-bloggers in the dark.

          Is it Autumn already? LOL! I thought it was Spring. We’re still waiting on summer. 🙂

  2. yahtzeebutterfly

    I am praying for Bryce’s complete recovery.

    From a Sept. 11, 2015 article:

    Masters suffered acute hypoxia deprivation of oxygen to the brain, according to the family’s attorney Daniel Haus.

    He is currently undergoing occupational treatment to improve his loss in cognitive abilities and memory.

    It is so sad to know of so many other cases involving the misuse of tasers.

  3. Omg this happened right after Mike Brown was executed. I’m so glad you followed this case cuz I forgot the kids name! I KNEW this cop wasn’t going to get away with it. The kids father was a cop too. Wondered why media hasn’t covered this case…
    This should be front and center for everyone to see what happens when cops attack innocent white ppl & whats SUPPOSED to happen to innocent black ppl!!!

    • Shannon,
      It really serves as an example to compare cases, doesn’t it? The media that covered it was mostly local, out of Kansas City. When Bryce was taken off the medical induced coma, the media went mostly silent.

    • Exactly, a white kid who is the son of a cop. Of course justice will be found. I’m glad for this family and child.

  4. this is why i fear any contact with police, clearly they can just grab you from your car viciously throw you to the ground and their bosses will say that is within our policy…… happens daily to people that are no threat on any level……the tennis player in nyc as recent prime example standing there waiting on his ride and he gets assaulted and battered.

  5. yahtzeebutterfly

    I was so surprised that the officer in the following video used a taser (and without warning). Here is what the Daily Beast article thought about it:

    “That two trained policemen couldn’t have managed to break up a teen’s playground altercation without resorting to potentially lethal action is shocking, no pun intended.

    Rockdale County most recently made national news when the KKK left bags of candy and racist fliers on residents’ lawns in the wake of the Charleston church shooting over the summer.”

  6. At least this cop got what he deserves. I’ve seen female high school teachers with more balls than these violent coward cops have.

  7. This was sent to me by a friend.

    • Looks to me like he was lucky he didn’t get shot, probably the only reason he wasn’t was because it was being recorded.

    • yahtzeebutterfly

      Well, that video is an good example of unequal treatment by LE.

    • Unfortunate… but so true. As a former cop, I’ve seen it all and it is painful just to relive even the thoughts of some of the injustices that I saw. People wonder WHY the current outpouring of violence against cops (I don’t condone violence by anyone)…
      Be careful of the seeds you sow………………………. CASE CLOSED!

      • yahtzeebutterfly


        It must be frustrating to be a good cop and be surrounded by some individuals who never should have been allowed to wear a badge.

        I wonder how many good cops have left police departments because they felt powerless to bring bad cops to justice.

        • When I was there I absolutely could not believe some of the things that I saw and heard…… But the more that things change, the more they stay the same.

    • crustyolemothman

      Xena: Good video, but wish it had shown both examples at the same location. That way there would be no possible claim to bias on the part of the film makers. IMO if we are to have lax gun laws in this nation, they need to be applied equally to “ALL” citizens and not just a select few in certain areas of the nation… This is yet another example of why the gun laws need to be changed.

      • Hey Mothman. I understand but figured they had to keep moving to where the cops were. You are so right that the lax guns laws have to apply equally to all. If they did, John Crawford and Tamir Rice would still be alive.

  8. I don’t know what else to say, except this is an epidemic aimed at people (mostly young) of color and young whites. With the plethora of cellphones to record these occurrences, the violent and fearful police officers should not be “protecting and serving” our public. I believe the recruits need to be put through intensive psychological tests by outside psychologists who are not regularly employed by the police departments, and who are specially trained in view of recruits’ possible employment by PDs.

    • Hey Sunshine! Absolutely, and they need to work in the communities where they live, rather than working in communities they do not want to live in.

      • Xena,
        The problem with that is that in most instances, people from certain areas are never hired in the first place. This certainly would prevent people from serving in areas where they live. Also by only working in the areas where they live, that premise would prevent said officer from broadening his scope and to appreciate diversity.

        • Hey Roach!

          The problem with that is that in most instances, people from certain areas are never hired in the first place.

          This is true.

          Also by only working in the areas where they live, that premise would prevent said officer from broadening his scope and to appreciate diversity.

          Based on these cases, I’m of the opinion that there is a lack of appreciation for diversity.

  9. People aren’t the only ones being tazed by cops.

  10. yahtzeebutterfly

    I just found a blog that has been keeping track of deaths of individuals who were tasered by LE.

    The following link is to a blog page written in October 2014 and provides of list of victims of tasering. You can click on each name and learn their stories.

  11. yahtzeebutterfly

    “Feds Release Sickening Video Of Cop Tasering Innocent Teen, Leaving Him Brain Damaged”

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