Topeka, KS — The facts are not disputed. Jackson County deputy Matthew Honas pulled out his taser and shocked a 12-year-old boy who he had already handcuffed, shackled, and hogtied in the back of his cruiser. Despite these undisputed facts, deputy Honas is still a cop. This is a major problem.
This week, a state law enforcement oversight board reprimanded the sheriff’s deputy for his horrifying act of child abuse. Unfortunately for the citizens of Topeka, however, the Kansas Commission on Peace Officers’ Standards and Training (KSCPOST) chose not to revoke the law enforcement certification for the abusive deputy.
Honas kept his law enforcement license in spite of the fact that he was found to have used excessive force against a child with autism. According to the KSCPOST, the abuse was captured on the deputy’s in-car camera and the entire attack was unprovoked. The child’s crime… running away from foster care.
“Among other actions, (Honas) tased the child without warning while the child was handcuffed and ‘hog tied,'” the report said.
The incident unfolded on Feb. 23, and according to the report, Honas knew the boy, identified as L.H. in the report, was autistic and had gotten physical with him before hogtying the child. Honas was not wearing a body camera during the interaction, so the only video that exists is what took place inside the deputy’s cruiser and it is damning enough.
According to the report, Honas appeared to hurt the child for no reason as he taunted and threatened him. (emphasis ours)
Respondent used excessive force multiple times throughout his contact with L.H. Respondent struggled with, shoved, elbowed, applied pressure points, carried, pulled, “hog tied,” and ultimately tased L.H. Of particular concern, L.H. was sitting in the patrol car at one point and not actively resisting. His hands were cuffed behind his back and Respondent began to press L.H.’ s jaw pressure points without giving any direction to L.H. to do anything. This appeared to be of a punitive nature, particularly with the dialogue between Respondent and L.H. at the time. Approximately five minutes later, L.H. was still sitting in the patrol vehicle with his feet outside the vehicle when Respondent deployed his taser on L.H. At the time, L.H. was handcuffed behind his back, had ankle shackles on, and had the handcuffs connected to the ankle shackles. L.H. was not a threat to Respondent or other officers.
Respondent’s actions on several occasions appeared to be punitive in nature; Respondent did not give direction to the child but applied pain compliance without telling L.H. was he was supposed to do; Respondent “hog tied” L.H., threatening his ability to breathe properly. Respondent also used inappropriate language with the child. For example, Respondent stated, “Cut it out. Do you understand? F**king quit,” and “When the other guy gets here, you’re going to hurt more.” Respondent also stated, “here’s the deal, you do anything you’re not supposed to do I will tase you again.”
CJ Online has submitted a Kansas Open Records Act for the video but that request was denied by Jackson County counselor Lee Hendricks — citing a portion of the act that allows criminal investigation records to be kept secret. According to CJ Online, Hendricks refused to say which agency, if any, was investigating Honas.
“The disclosure and publicity of recorded encounters with law enforcement is not in the public interest,” Hendricks wrote. “Persons who know their statements and encounters with law enforcement may become public will tend against providing information for fear of that publicity — whether it being identified in the community as a ‘snitch’ or for fear of embarrassing information being disclosed.”
As for now, although he was removed from his position at Jackson County, Honas is now a gypsy cop and can find employment at any one of his neighboring departments.