FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 28, 2017
More than three years after Jose Maldonado, a 22-year-old Manchester man, died in an East Hartford jail cell after being tased, punched, and pepper sprayed by police, Hartford State’s Attorney Gail Hardy today released her report regarding Maldonado’s death. In 2014, the state’s Chief Medical Examiner ruled Maldonado’s death a homicide caused by cardiac arrest, following electric shock, and blunt force trauma to the head.
The following is a statement from David McGuire, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Connecticut (ACLU-CT):
“This decision is a miscarriage of justice. It is a travesty that Jose Maldonado’s family had to wait three years for a perfunctory investigation to produce this inadequate response to their loved one’s death at the hands of police.
Today’s report is the latest symptom of a broken system for holding police accountable to communities. Nobody, including the police, should be above the law. Yet once again, we have seen prosecutors allow police in Connecticut to kill an unarmed man of color with impunity. And once again, it took years for prosecutors to release a perfunctory report into someone’s death at the hands of police. This case shows, like too many others, that Connecticut’s system for policing the police is broken.
It is time for our elected officials to dismantle barriers to accountability and justice. Legislators should immediately take steps toward creating an independent body to fairly investigate police uses of force and misconduct.
The sad truth is that there are more repercussions for someone who runs an unlicensed barbershop in Connecticut than there are for police who break their vows to protect and serve our communities. We look forward to working to prevent other families from experiencing what Jose Maldonado’s family is going through.”
Connecticut does not keep track of how many people die after encounters with police. An ongoing count by the ACLU-CT shows that, since Maldonado’s death in 2014, at least four other people have died after being tased by police in Connecticut. According to the Washington Post, since 2015, at least nine people have died after being shot by police in Connecticut. Most recently, police in Bridgeport fatally shot and killed 15-year-old Jayson Negron; the state’s attorney has not yet released its preliminary investigative report in that case.
ACLU-CT board member and attorney David Cohen of Wofsey, Rosen, Kweskin & Kuriansky, LLP, is also representing Maldonado’s family in a civil lawsuit against the East Hartford police.