Epilepsy Talk

Read this and weep… | December 11, 2021

“She was having a seizure. Police shocked her with a taser.

This is the story of how an Alabama teen sought justice after a violent police encounter upended her life.

RAINBOW CITY, Ala. — Seventeen-year-old Tiara Helm danced and bobbed her head to the music, swaying among hundreds of concert-goers packed inside a theater in this small city northeast of Birmingham. Rapper Kevin Gates electrified the crowd as strobe lights pulsed.

Suddenly, Helm collapsed. Her body convulsed. Her head thrashed against the concrete floor.

She was gripped by one of the seizures that had plagued her since a car accident. When the high school junior came to, she found four Rainbow City police officers on top of her, pinning her down. Scared and disoriented, she begged to be let go and fought to get free.

The officers, who initially tried to keep her from hurting herself, decided she had become combative, according to multiple court records. They tightened their holds, leaving red marks on her arms. One wrapped his forearm around her neck in a headlock.

A fifth officer arrived — armed with a Taser. He warned her he would use it if she didn’t settle down and behave. She cursed at him. He pressed the Taser into her abdomen and pulled the trigger. Her body jerked. She screeched in pain…”

To read more, click here: https://www.themarshallproject.org/2021/12/02/she-was-having-a-seizure-police-shocked-her-with-a-taser?fbclid=IwAR3LTM6aYvkKkcW9__5eNDOgv6fj_l-3gfvUsTYY8j8gg26apxkbXbJZssg

This article was published in partnership with USA Today NetworkMontgomery Advertiser and AL.com.

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  1. Nightmare

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by Flower Roberts — December 11, 2021 @ 12:24 PM

  2. Anyone who develops epilepsy after an accident has their life changed forever with implications that can never be imagined unless there is a guide to navigate those rough waters , Only the doctors who diagnose can give the first indications of where or how to find that guide, be it a relative, friend, a book etc or a blog like this one can that misfortune be conquered and recognized as something that does not define who you are. Unfortunately the usual advice is to take a pill or maybe not even that much…And sometimes the pills can also create their own problems to deal with …It becomes a lifelong search to manage oneself and not let the “problem” win. This story represents the girl’s victory over herself in spite of the negative results in a search for justice. The key is to never give up being the person you want to be.

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by Andrea Kay Whitcomb — December 11, 2021 @ 12:49 PM

    • It’s tough to define yourself as one thing when those around you are seeing you (or NOT seeing you) as something or somebody else.


      Comment by Phylis Feiner Johnson — December 11, 2021 @ 1:05 PM

      • Yes, unfortunately it will take a lot of experience and rocky roads passed over to learn just who is that person you want to be . A lifelong work: educating your self and educating others. Then, having the fortitude to pursue your convictions in spite of the obstacles.

        Liked by 1 person

        Comment by Andrea Kay Whitcomb — December 11, 2021 @ 2:15 PM

  3. Reblogged this on Ken's Devotions.


    Comment by Kenneth — December 11, 2021 @ 12:51 PM

  4. Typical! I’m in N Ireland, I’ve had the police, my neuro panicked when I had a seizure in his clinic, which pushed me too far and he called two security guards to hold me down, as I recovered I wasn’t even allowed a cup of tea and finally, when they were distracted I managed to run away through a back door, and that’s only two events, I even asked a solicitor if I’d be arrested for hurting some ignoramus

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by Gail Barry — December 11, 2021 @ 1:22 PM

    • They wouldn’t be arresting for hurting you…if you were so unlucky as to be having a seizure. GRRRR.


      Comment by Phylis Feiner Johnson — December 11, 2021 @ 4:05 PM

  5. There needs to be a CLASS ACTION LAW SUIT and have all those cops pay for life of their salary every week to Tiara Helm & that police dept also go to classes every week for spotting seizures with anyone they come in contact with such as that with Tiara Helm. The say everything happens for a reason, so Tiara SUE THE HELL OUT OF THEM for all of us. What happened to you, can happen to any of us with Epilepsy as we or you never know when the condition may change, as yours now probably has changed since getting tazed by that 5th officer who should BURN IN HELL, but never turn to ash. The 2nd brain is in THE GUT and that tazing had to do something related to more neurological problems & more seizures.

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by James D — December 11, 2021 @ 2:16 PM

  6. I wonder how many of us have to go through this kind of thing? I’ve told my story about an HR employee at a health department, who knew I have epilepsy, restraining me during a seizure and fracturing three ribs and badly bruising me.

    But not all people do this kind of thing when confronted by someone having a seizure. They remain calm and do the right thing to protect, rather than harm, the individual. Is it a matter of some people being controlling to the point of injuring the person having the seizure? Has there been any research on the subject of injuries caused by people who try to restrain someone having a seizure? The resulting injuries can be quite serious and emotionally devastating, and they are totally avoidable.

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by Tom — December 11, 2021 @ 5:26 PM

  7. I don’t think it’s necessarily people being controlling. I think it’s plain, garden variety stupid IGNORANCE!

    They can’t control it — as you said — they can’t explain it — they’ve never experienced it — so IT MUST BE BAD!

    (Sorry, I didn’t mean to shout. But, sometimes, this stuff makes me more than a little crazy.)


    Comment by Phylis Feiner Johnson — December 11, 2021 @ 6:42 PM

  8. YEAH,, I did ”the right thing” got fired for it too. A teen age boy 13 or 14 was starting to go into a seizure. I watch him 1st, talked to him & got no answer from him. ( Knowing that I was living 35 years of living with seizures myself ) I had been where this boy was at, so i cleared that area where he was sitting at a desk type chair. He was not out yet, but still responsive as I asked him to lie down on the floor for me & HE DID. I did not have to move him where I wanted him to lay as it was about 5 more minutes he had before the GRAND MAL events was going to happen. I had on a watch, & watched the time & his actions & SURE ENOUGH after 5 minutes IT HAPPENED and I was the only employee on the premises & on the clock. After about 5 more minutes the GRAND MAL actions were all over & in another 10 minutes passed by before a supervisor employee came into the room I was at with this boy & other clients, So this day being a SUNDAY as I remembered that as it was, I was told after telling them what happened to GO HOME, that I should had called somebody, when NOBODY gave me 1 number to call anyone, and I was asked HOW DID I KNOW WHAT TO DO ? I HAD NO TRAINING TO KNOW WHAT I DID WAS RIGHT OR WRONG,, Yeah right.. Then I told them what I have been living with all my life for like 35 years, as I was 35, & I was told then & asked WHY DIDN’T YOU TELL ANYONE THIS BEFORE ? I said then,, MAYBE nobody here would have been here today to help that boy who needed me today than anyone else who may not have known what I knew about people with epilepsy & seizures ? PLUS my condition is not one to worry about, AND IT WASN’T THEN in 1995. So I was told to GO HOME & I will be called when they needed me. That day NEVER happened, as I was fired that next day on MONDAY. So you DO THE RIGHT THING you get hosed, but the bad things others do, never go punished but rewarded instead. I always say WHAT GOES AROUND COMES AROUND others may call that KARMA.That day I was trying to live by ROMANS chapter 12 as verse 19 is NOT my doings. Call it having JOY v/s being HAPPY.

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by James D — December 11, 2021 @ 8:46 PM

    • No good deed goes unpunished. But I fervently believe in karma.


      Comment by Phylis Feiner Johnson — December 12, 2021 @ 12:14 AM

    • I’m sorry to hear of your experience James. You know you did the right thing. I’ve been treated badly during seizures by all kinds of people, from employers to neurologists. My one “good” experience where strangers were involved was at a Home Depot. An employee stayed with me until EMTs arrived. The isle was cleared of on lookers. They allowed me to gain consciousness and call my wife. She came and got me. No ambulance, no long ER stay, and no resulting expenses. Oh, and no one tried to restrain me, so no additional injuries. I called the store a couple days after the incident and asked that they express my appreciation to the employee.

      Liked by 1 person

      Comment by Tom — December 12, 2021 @ 1:01 AM

  9. I admire & respect the resilience of Tiara Helm & her mother’s determination in their arduous long struggle for justice.
    It’s about time for the ACLU (American Civil Liberties Union) & the Epilepsy Foundation to join with Tiara Helm & her mother’s desperate plight for justice, holding the Police (Gestapo) department accountable for their illegal restraints & torture of the helpless young woman in desperate need of medical attention.
    Having been handcuffed & shackled to Ambulance & hospital bed for having grand mal seizures, I experienced almost the same illegal maltreatment & torture in the hands of those who claim to rescue those who need medical attention.
    Therefore, I deeply understand the tormenting experience Tiara Helm had been forced to go through.
    As if living with seizures are NOT very tormenting struggle to cope with everyday, being tortured by the very establishments who swore to uphold the law, protect & serve the public while the victims of Epilepsy are going through the most difficult medical nightmare they are forced to live with is certainly beyond Police brutality & criminal detention.
    Let’s hope that Tiara Helm’s story will continue to garner more media attention like this article & spark national struggle for justice to the victims of seizures & police brutality.

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by Gerrie — December 12, 2021 @ 3:02 AM

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    About the author

    Phylis Feiner Johnson

    Phylis Feiner Johnson

    I've been a professional copywriter for over 35 years. I also had epilepsy for decades. My mission is advocacy; to increase education, awareness and funding for epilepsy research. Together, we can make a huge difference. If not changing the world, at least helping each other, with wisdom, compassion and sharing.

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