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Friday, January 18, 2013

Chinese woman Tasered at mall in Nashua to fight trespass, resisting arrest charges

NASHUA – A Chinese woman Tasered in the Pheasant Lane Mall in December has pleaded not-guilty to two charges and faces a March court date, her attorney said Thursday.

Meanwhile, camera-phone videos of the incident have appeared on YouTube, putting Nashua Police on the defensive as the court approaches, the attorney said. ...

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NASHUA – A Chinese woman Tasered in the Pheasant Lane Mall in December has pleaded not-guilty to two charges and faces a March court date, her attorney said Thursday.

Meanwhile, camera-phone videos of the incident have appeared on YouTube, putting Nashua Police on the defensive as the court approaches, the attorney said.

Xiaojie Li, 44, of Newton, Mass., faces one count of misdemeanor resisting arrest or detention and one count of misdemeanor criminal trespass. She waived arraignment and will fight the charges, attorney David Ruoff of Manchester said.

A court appearance is scheduled for early March, though Ruoff said he isn’t sure when the trial will be held.

Li has released a statement in Mandarin to Chinese media covering the case, according to her uncle, David Chen, owner of Thousand Crane II on West Pearl Street in Nashua.

The statement also was translated to English through a person Li authorized to act as her spokesman, Chen said.

“I am outraged by what happened to me at one of the (Apple) stores in New Hampshire. I was treated inhumanly without just cause,” Li said in the statement.

“I have always seen the United States of America as a country of rule of law and democracy, which has a high regard for human rights and treats different races equally. I have suffered tremendous physical pain and trauma, in addition to the damage done to my dignity,” Li said in the statement.

“I hope that the judicial department will do me justice,” she said.

Li was arrested outside the Apple Store at the Pheasant Lane Mall on Dec. 11. According to media reports, Li had gone to the store the previous week buy several iPhones for family in China but was told she could only buy two. She recorded video of what appeared to be customers buying more and was told to leave.

When she returned the following Tuesday, she was again asked to leave. Police contend that Li knows enough English to understand what she was being told. Her attorney disputes that.

The incident occurred because Li could not understand English directions that mall security guards and Nashua police officers were giving her, Ruoff said. Li uses a translator on her phone to communicate in English, Ruoff said.

“Police seemed to think she has some level of fluency in the English language, and that’s not the case,” Ruoff said. “She associates only with the Chinese-Mandarin community in Newton.”

According to Chen, Li was reaching in her purse to grab the translator when a security guard grabbed for the phone. Li, not knowing what was happening, put her hand in her purse and froze, Chen said.

Li lay on the ground for 5 to 10 minutes, Ruoff said. Police used a Taser on her repeatedly in a mall crowded with shoppers, he said.

Videos captured on cell phone have appeared on YouTube, and that has put Nashua police on the defensive, Ruoff said. Detectives have been assigned to investigate the case, which is unusual for a resisting arrest case, Ruoff said.

Li’s arms showed marks from the Taser burns, Chen said. Worse, she was humiliated from the incident, he said.

Li owned a business in Shanghai and came to the United States three years ago to find a better life for herself and her daughters, Ruoff said.

Patrick Meighan can be reached at 594-6518 or pmeighan@nashua
telegraph.com. Follow Meighan on Twitter @ Telegraph_PatM.