10/17/06 Taser, Police and Panic

John Keane and JB jamming on stage in North Charleston,SC

Stunning twist: Man accused of using Taser on officer
Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Police officers working security at Widespread Panic's concert Friday night at the North Charleston Coliseum said they used a Taser on a man after he punched one of their own in the forehead.

During a scuffle, the patron at the jam-band performance managed to wrest the Taser from an officer and stun him, a report states.

The events began unfolding around 10 p.m. after a 52-year-old man told police he had been assaulted and wanted to press charges. He pointed out the alleged assailant in the crowd.

A female officer ordered the suspect to go outside, but he refused and stuck his hands in her face, a report states. When the officer approached a second time with a male colleague, the man punched her in the forehead. The male officer used a Taser after he continued to resist.

Sweaty, shirtless and flailing, he began to kick the male officer and they fell to the ground, the report states. The officer again stunned him, to little effect. During the struggle, the man managed to turn the Taser on the policeman by using the contact stun feature.

Reinforcements soon arrived to subdue Thomas Carpenter Neal, 19, of Columbus, Ga. He was charged with two counts of assault on a police officer and one count of resisting arrest, police said. That wasn't the end of it, according to a police report. Another officer escorting Neal to a patrol car twice used a Taser on him when he physically resisted efforts to place him inside.

Police reported making 19 arrests that night, mostly on drug-possession charges ranging from "magic" mushrooms, LSD and Ecstasy, to crack cocaine, methamphetamine and prescription pain medication.

The Charleston County Detention Center said Neal left jail Saturday after posting $25,000 bail.