Family says they were tasered, beaten by JP deputies

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wwltv.com

Posted on June 27, 2012 at 11:20 PM

Updated Thursday, Jun 28 at 9:33 PM

Monica Hernandez / Eyewitness News
Email: mhernandez@wwltv.com | Twitter: @mhernandezwwl

JEFFERSON, La. - You can hear the screams for mercy in a video recorded by a Jefferson Parish deputies' Taser gun. It allegedly shows the deputy tasing a young man, Frank Palermo, while he's handcuffed to a friend, Tiffany McBrier, now 21.

"It was just like a stinging in my arm, as soon as they hit him with it, I felt it," McBrier said.

As McBrier watched the video, she shudders at the memory.

“I just get a chill down my spine, just hearing that sound,” McBrier said. “It was scary, it was scary.”

McBrier said it all happened at a party in Gretna, La., last May. McBrier wasn't charged with anything.

“They ended up letting me out of the handcuffs after they tased him, because I was so scared I started crying,” McBrier said.

But the chilling scene didn't end there. Sabrina Zuppardo, now 17, said when she called her mother to tell her people were being tased, Deputy Frank Carraci slapped handcuffs on her, called her derogatory names and began beating her as she lay on the ground.

“I had a black eye the next day, from when he was hitting me,” Sabrina Zuppardo said. "I was freaking out, I was crying, I didn't believe it. It was shocking."

Madelyn Zuppardo, Sabrina’s mother, said she could hear the sound of slapping and name calling as her daughter stayed on the line. 

“My daughter was screaming, 'Mom mom,” said Zuppardo.

Madelyn Zuppardo said what happened when she arrived at the party to pick her daughter up is every mother's nightmare.

A second video appears to show a deputy tasing Madelyn Zuppardo. She said she was also kicked in the head and hit several times with a stun gun.

"It's a nightmare, it's a nightmare, he's there every night,” Zuppardo said. “He's in my dream every night.”

Madelyn Zuppardo believes she was attacked because she told her daughter that she would report what happened to Sheriff Newell Normand. Now, she's filed a lawsuit against Caracci, Deputy Sean Williams, and Normand.

"I'm losing my hair from it," Zuppardo said. "I just can't believe a police officer did this. The way I was treated, I'm still in disbelief."
Carraci, who appeared on the cable TV show "Rookies" is no stranger to lawsuits. He settled out of court in 2007 after a federal suit accused him of tasing a man to death. In 2002, he settled another federal case involving excessive force.

"Officer Carraci, when we started subpoenaing him to come to this proceeding he resigned," said attorney Martin Regan, who represents Madelyn Zuppardo in her criminal charges stemming from the evening. "He has a history of this kind of thing. He is a symbol of a rotten apple in a good police department."

A police report, however, said Sabrina Zuppardo was handcuffed because she was shouting curses at deputies and walking throughout the crime scene. In the report, Caracci said he found drug paraphernalia in Sabrina Zuppardo's purse, and she was charged with its possession.

In the report, Caracci said Madelyn Zuppardo was tased because she was shouting threats and curses at the officers, causing them to lose control of the scene. Carraci added, as he seized
Madelyn Zuppardo's arms and directed her to the ground, she slapped his chest and swung her arms about, before Williams tased her.

Madelyn Zuppardo was convicted this week of resisting arrest and interfering with police in this case.

She plans to appeal. The Jefferson Parish Sheriff said he couldn't comment on pending litigation.
 

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