HARTFORD — Connecticut researchers today released the state’s second statewide study about police use of Tasers. Today’s study, the second to examine police Taser use in Connecticut, shows that in 2016:
- 56 percent of people whom police tased or threatened to tase were minorities, an increase in disparities from the prior year;
- 49 percent of people whom police tased or threatened to tase were experiencing a mental health crisis, an increase from the prior year;
- 37 children, including a 7-year-old, were tased or threatened with tasing by police, an increase from the prior year;
- police departments are not reporting all Taser incidents, as required by state law, to researchers.
The following is a reaction from David McGuire, executive director of the ACLU of Connecticut:
“This latest report about police Taser use shows what many community members already know: police are disproportionately using Tasers against Black and Latino men and boys and against vulnerable people who are in crisis.
Year after year, statewide investigations into police practices, from Taser use to traffic stops, have shown that police are disproportionately targeting Black and Latino communities and that police are unable to police themselves. The ACLU-CT has found that police aren’t complying with state laws about accepting complaints from community members, and state researchers continually report that police are playing games with providing information that they are legally required to submit. Bridgeport police shot and killed a 15-year-old boy this year, and the city and state have done nothing to ensure that won’t happen again.
Connecticut has all the evidence it needs to know that police can’t police themselves and that police are unjustly targeting Black and Latino communities. Now, we need action. Connecticut must adopt independent oversight of police to end dangerous and unjust police practices, and it must start enforcing its existing police accountability laws. Local governments and state legislators both have a role to play in increasing police accountability and ending racial injustice. We demand they get to work.”
Since 2005, at least 18 people have died after being tased by police in Connecticut, and 12 were Black or Latino.