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Bodycam footage of an October interaction between three police officers and a 70-year-old Black woman suffering from a manic episode is raising concerns in the community.
In the footage, Tulsa Police Officer Ronni Carrocia can be seen laughing at and provoking 70-year-old Ladonna Paris, who was locked in a bathroom and suffering from a manic episode, EMSA medics later confirmed.
The bodycam footage seen by the public spread on social media the day before Tulsa’s City Council is set to vote on a possible amendment to the city charter. Wednesday’s vote would allow for a citywide ballot vote on creating an Office of the Independent Monitor (OIM), a citizen-led group designed to provide independent oversight of the police department and help improve relations between the department and community.
Arrest of Ladona Paris
Officer Carrocia can be seen deploying her taser in a taunting manner and violently shaking the locked door that Paris was on the other side of while suffering from a manic episode. While not providing any attempt at de-escalating the situation, Officer Carrocia is seen laughing while Paris is reacting to the violent shakes of the door.
According to sources inside the police department, this is not Officer Carrocia’s first time displaying similar actions. She has been reprimanded in the past for similar actions and was told by her direct report (supervisor) that she would be restricted from advancing in ranks for her actions.
Paris was eventually arrested and charged with five counts including attempted arson and assault and battery upon a police officer. Bond was set at $53,000 and Paris was held in county jail for nearly a month before having all charges against her dropped.
Police escalation shows more funding needed for Community Response Team
In the bodycam footage, Officer Root can be heard asking dispatch for a Community Response Team (CRT) multiple times because it was obvious that Paris was suffering from a mental health crisis.
Unfortunately, a CRT unit was not available to respond to the scene which could have drastically altered the outcome.
Tulsa residents asked the City Council last year to fully fund a CRT to help with mental crisis calls and make it available 24/7. The City Council voted against fully funding a CRT, which would help alleviate the workload of the police department and redirect mental health calls to experts better trained to handle mental health crises.
High-ranking sources inside the Tulsa Police Department told The Black Wall Street Times that upon seeing the bodycam footage, Officer Carrocia was placed on desk duty and has not been in the field since. It is unclear exactly how long Officer Carrocia has been on desk duty.
Editor’s note: A previous version of this article stated Ladonna Paris is 71. She is 70.