Civil rights groups seek answers in taser death of man

EAST HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH)– Two civil rights groups have joined the hunt for answers in the taser death of a man in East Hartford.

Jose Maldonado, 22, died Sunday after he was tasered by police while being booked on charges related to an incident earlier in the day when police said he damaged a vehicle occupied by a family on Nutmeg Lane.

“The recent death of Jose Maldonado was preventable,” said Andrew Schneider, executive director of the Connecticut American Civil Liberties Union.

As the ACLU has pushed for taser reform legislation in the past four years, Schneider said 10 people in the state have died from the use of a taser.

“The majority of people that are dying are black and latino,” said Scot X. Esdaile, president of the Connecticut National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. “We’re not the majority in the state; we’re only 20 percent of the state but 71 percent of us are dying.”

NAACP & ACLU

Police said Maldonado was combative and resisted arrest as officers began to take him into custody about 1:30 a.m. Sunday.

“While the accused was being processed, he again became combative with East Hartford officers,” Connecticut State Police spokesman Lt. J. Paul Vance said Tuesday in a statement. “Maldonado refused to comply with the officer’s direction to stop his resistance causing an East Hartford officer to use the department issued taser to gain control of the accused.”

Maldonado appeared to “suffer medical distress” and was provided emergency care on scene before he was transported to Hartford Hospital where he was pronounced dead shortly after admission, Vance said.

The suspect was being booked for three counts of risk of injury to a minor, third-degree assault, second-degree criminal mischief, disorderly conduct and interfering and resisting arrest.

No officers were injured in the incident. The officer who deployed the taser has been at the department for two years. State police is investigating.

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