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Woman's tasering at Nashua mall came after 10 minutes

NASHUA - Police say an initial review of a Massachusetts woman being tasered outside a Pheasant Lane Mall Apple store Tuesday shows that excessive force does not appear to have been used.

"The manager of the Apple store had thrown Ms. Li out on a previous occasion," Deputy Chief Scott Howe said Wednesday of Xiaojie Li. "She was seen taking pictures and video from within the store."

He said the woman had 10 minutes to comply with police orders before the taser was used.

"We attempted to get her to comply with being arrested. She refused, so you have to use some level of force to gain that compliance to effect the arrest," Howe said. "The goal is to use the least amount of force to do so."

A video of the tasering has received widespread media attention, with the Newton, Mass., woman interviewed on several Boston and local TV stations.

Li's 12-year-old daughter and fiance, John Hugo, both told interviewers the woman did not speak English and did not understand what police were saying. She was in the store to buy iPhones.

A Nashua police officer was working a paid detail at the store, Howe said, in part because of people trying to purchase large quantities of Apple products - sometimes resold at a profit in other countries.

"They have people coming in attempting to buy large quantities, and Apple does not want to sell them that way," Howe said.

He said when store management asked her to leave about 11:30 a.m., Li refused.

After the officer asked her to leave, Li was told she was under arrest for trespassing and escorted to the front of the store.

Howe said the officer managed to get one handcuff on Li, but she was flailing her arms and pulling away.

"The officer ended up doing a take-down move just to take her to the ground to avoid anybody being injured - basically just sweep the feet out from under - and literally he held her going down."

The officer was unable to get the second cuff on and called for backup, Howe said. A second officer arrived in five minutes.

Howe said Li was speaking broken English with the arresting officers, asking them why she had to leave the store.

He said Li was warned the taser would be used, but still did not comply.

She was charged with resisting arrest and criminal trespassing, both misdemeanors. Li was released on $300 bail.

Howe said any time force is used, an internal review takes place at the police department.

Apple store officials refused to comment.

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Simon Rios may be reached at srios@newstote.com.

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