Ronni Carrocia is a Tulsa police officer who is under fire after she laughed and said “this is going to be fun,” before using a Taser on a 70-year-old bipolar woman, LaDonna Paris, in a now-viral video. The Oklahoma police department has said that while Carrocia’s behavior could be “received as unprofessional,” she and other officers involved in the October 2021 incident did not violate policy. An edited bodycam video of six minutes of the incident was released on YouTube in March 2022 and went viral.
Paris, who was suffering from a mental health crisis and had locked herself in the bathroom of a store, was arrested on several charges and spent a month in jail, according to officials and public documents. The charges against Paris were later dismissed by a judge, records show. A lawsuit has now been filed. Carrocia has not commented about the incident and backlash and it was not immediately clear if she has hired an attorney who could speak on her behalf.
Here’s what you need to know about Ronni Carrocia and the incident, including the full bodycam videos:
1. The Body Camera Video Shows Officer Ronni Carrocia Saying ‘This Is Going to Be So Fun’ & ‘I Love My Job’
A nearly six-minute video showing excerpts from Tulsa Police body camera footage from the incident was posted on YouTube on March 30, 2022. The video, titled “LADONNA PARIS TULSA PD ARREST VIDEO,” went viral and caught the attention of local officials and media in Tulsa. The video starts with a title card reading, “Tulsa Police’s failed encounter & arrest of a mentally ill senior citizen.”
The video shows Officer Ronni Carrocia standing outside of a bathroom holding her Taser, which is sparking. She yells into the bathroom, where Paris has barricaded herself, saying, “You want to get Tazed?” Carrocia can then be seen laughing as Paris responds, “Don’t do it.” The footage was filmed on Carrocia’s partner’s body camera.
The video also shows Carrocia banging on the door and then saying, “This is going to be so fun.” Carrocia can also be heard laughing about Paris being “so 85,” a reference to the Tulsa Police radio code for a person in mental distress. The video also shows Paris being removed from the bathroom with a bloody face. In another portion of the footage, Carrocia can be heard saying, “I love my job.”
2. Police Released Several Body Cam Videos Showing the Full Incident
After the video surfaced, Tulsa Police issued a statement about the October 25, 2021, incident and shared unedited body camera footage. In the release, police said officers had been called to the ReStore, which is run by Habitat for Humanity, for a report of a woman who had locked herself in the bathroom for four hours.
“They told the officers that she was not allowed to be in the bathroom, and they wanted us to remove her and tell her that she wasn’t allowed to come back on the property. Officers requested our Community Response Team respond to the location to assist with Paris, unfortunately they were busy on another call and unable to respond to the location,” police said in the statement. “Officers spent 15 minutes talking to Paris through the door telling her that she needed to come out of the bathroom. While the door was locked, it was not beyond the capabilities of the Officers to force their way into the room. The officer continued to attempt verbal coercion and rattling the door to get Paris to comply with the lawful order to come out.”
The statement said, “The video that was sent to my attention is edited down from 90 minutes to just under 6 minutes. To be clear, the banter between the officers outside of the presence of the suspect can be received as unprofessional and has been addressed with the Officers. The overall actions of the Officers and the way in which the call was handled is within the policies of the Tulsa Police Department.” Police said in the statement:
In summary, we were called to a location by staff to remove an individual who was trespassing. The suspect used an aerosol can and lighter in an unsuccessful attempt to set a fire. Officers attempted to call our Community Response team to the location, but they were unable to respond. After 34 minutes of unsuccessful verbal coaxing, Paris still refused to open the door and surrender. Officers forced entry into the small bathroom and quickly secured Paris with minimal force. When loading Paris into a vehicle, she kicked an Officer. During and after transport Paris was compliant with Officers.
According to police, “The original release of the video was under the guise that an arrest was made. The judge in this case later dismissed the charges due to the mental health condition of Paris. Under normal circumstances, we would not release a video where no arrest was made, and someone was in a mental health crisis.”
3. Officer Ronni Carrocia Was Hired by the Tulsa Police Department in 2017 & She Graduated From the Police Academy in 2018
Officer Ronni Carrocia was hired by the Tulsa Police Department in August 2017, according to minutes from the Oklahoma Police Pension and Retirement Board’s meeting that month, which approved her participation in the fund as a newly hired officer.
Carrocia then graduated from the police academy in 2018, according to a Tulsa World article from that time. Carrocia told the newspaper, “It was lots of hours and lots of dedication and lots of ‘You can get through this, you can get through this, you can do this.’ I am just ready to go out there and put my best foot forward and protect the community.”
Carrocia is featured several times on the Tulsa Police Department’s Facebook page at community events, including at the Tulsa Fair in October 2019 and at a school event. In December 2020, Carrocia was recognized by radio station 106.9 K-Hits as the first responder winner of the “Caring for the Community” award.
4. Carrocia, Whose Sister Was Murdered in 2018, Is From Claremont, Oklahoma, & Studied at Rogers State University Before Becoming a Police Officer
Ronni Sitka Carrocia is originally from Claremont, Oklahoma, according to public records. She graduated from Sequoyah High School in 2010. Carrocia, 30, also studied at Rogers State University in Claremont, Oklahoma, before becoming a police officer, according to a 2015 post on the school’s website.
Carrocia’s sister, Vanessa Swaissi, was killed in 2008 when Carrocia was 16, according to a 2009 article in the Claremore Progress. Carrocia told the Tulsa World after her police academy graduation that she decided to become a police officer as a result of that trauma and how the officers who came into her life impacted her.
Two men were found guilty of murder and sentenced to life in prison in her sister’s death, according to The Oklahoman. In a 2013 article in The Oklahoman about a memorial walk organized to pay tribute to Swaissi, Carrocia told the newspaper about her sister, “She had a rough life growing up so she wanted to help people in return. She would have done anything for anybody.”
5. Tulsa’s Mayor & Police Chief Defended Carrocia & the Other Officers, While Attorneys Representing Paris Called the Officers’ Actions ‘Outrageous’
Tulsa Mayor G.T. Bynum, a Republican, said in a statement, “Tulsa Police leadership brought this video to my attention last month as part of their investigation. It is heartbreaking to see a fellow Tulsan suffering a mental health crisis in a video, and it is a reminder of the difficult situations officers deal with in the field every day. I am confident in the investigation conducted by the Tulsa Police Department.”
Tulsa Police Chief Wendell Franklin added on Twitter, along with a link to more bodycam footage, “The officer’s actions are under investigation but heavily edited video never tells the whole story. Five videos totaling more than 5hrs were made available to the media. Here is one which captures 1 1/2 hrs of the encounter.”
Damario Solomon Simmons, a lawyer representing Paris, said in a statement, “SolomonSimmonsLaw has been retained to represent Ms. LaDonna Paris, a 70-year-old- Black great-grandmother and seminary student who was taunted, harassed, and antagonized by Tulsa Police Department officers before they brutalized her while placing her under arrest for behavioral manifestations of a mental health disorder in October 2021. The TPD officers involved were fully aware that Ms. Paris was suffering a bipolar manic episode, yet they still viciously provoked and attacked Ms. Paris while laughing off her disability as if it were a joke. We are disgusted by this outrageous behavior caught on video and the fact that the Tulsa Police Department has attempted to shift the blame for the incident onto the victim of a mental health episode and police brutality.”
The attorney added, “We are even more troubled by the Tulsa Police Department’s frequent practice of ignoring and even outright condoning their officers’ discriminatory treatment and humiliation of, and violence toward, people who suffer from mental health disorders, especially African-Americans. We plan to hold a press conference in the near future so Ms. Paris can speak about her experience and look forward to doing everything in our power to hold the officers involved in the attack and the Tulsa Police Department accountable for their shameful and unlawful, discriminatory actions and to seek justice for Ms. Paris. #JusticeforLaDonna #BlackLivesMatter.”