NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) — A new law in Connecticut will provide more information about when and where police officers reach for and use their Tasers, or stun guns.
Since 2005, 17 people have died in Connecticut after police used a stun gun on them, according to the ACLU of Connecticut, which collected the list of fatalities from police and news reports. Four of those deaths involved the New Britain Police Department, while another three involved the Meriden Police Department.
In the April 2014 death of José Maldonado, of Manchester, he was hit with a stun gun after police said he became combative while being booked for assault. The new law, which took effect in January of 2015, means every department that uses a stun gun has to file a report every time an officer fires off his Taser. That report includes:
- Race and gender of each person who was hit by a stun gun
- How many times the stun gun was used
- The extent of any injuries
- If the stun gun has more than one mode, what setting was used.
The ACLU of Connecticut has been pushing for reforms in the police use of stun guns, and knowing which departments use them and how often will help their effort. “We believe that information will be key to further reform,” said Jeanne Leblanc, Communications Director for the ACLU in CT, told WTNH.com. “The bill also requires police to adopt policies on Taser use, which is also very important.”
A 2012 report by Amnesty International said at least 500 people have died from stun gun use by police since 2001. California has 92 deaths at the time of the report, Florida 65, and Texas had 37.
It’s legal to own a stun gun/Taser for yourself for home protection. You can also carry one if you have approval from your town, but you could get in trouble if you carried a stun gun into another town, according to ct-permit.com
This is the full text of the law.
Public Act No. 14-149
AN ACT CONCERNING THE USE OF ELECTRONIC DEFENSE WEAPONS BY POLICE OFFICERS.
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Assembly convened:
Section 1. (NEW) (Effective January 1, 2015) (a) For purposes of this section, “law enforcement agency” means the Division of State Police within the Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection or any municipal police department, “police officer” means a state police officer or a sworn member of a municipal police department and “electronic defense weapon” has the same meaning as provided in section 53a-3 of the general statutes.
(b) (1) Each law enforcement agency that authorizes a police officer employed by such agency to use an electronic defense weapon shall: (A) Not later than January 31, 2015, adopt and maintain a written policy that meets or exceeds the model policy developed by the Police Officer Standards and Training Council regarding the use of an electronic defense weapon; (B) require police officers to document any use of an electronic defense weapon in use-of-force reports; (C) not later than January fifteenth following each calendar year in which an electronic defense weapon is used, prepare an annual report using the form developed and promulgated by the Police Officer Standards and Training Council pursuant to section 2 of this act that details the use of electronic defense weapons by police officers employed by such agency and includes (i) data downloaded from the electronic defense weapons after their use, (ii) data compiled from the use-of-force reports, and (iii) statistics on each such use of an electronic defense weapon, including, but not limited to, (I) the race and gender of each person on whom the electronic defense weapon was used, provided the identification of such characteristics shall be based on the observation and perception of the police officer that used the electronic defense weapon, (II) the number of times the electronic defense weapon was activated and used on such person, (III) the injury, if any, suffered by such person against whom the electronic defense weapon was used, and (IV) if the electronic defense weapon that was used had different usage modes, the mode used; and (D) not later than January 15, 2016, and annually thereafter, submit the report to the Criminal Justice Policy and Planning Division within the Office of Policy and Management.
(2) Not later than January 15, 2016, and annually thereafter, a law enforcement agency that does not authorize police officers employed by such agency to use an electronic defense weapon shall submit a report to the Criminal Justice Policy and Planning Division within the Office of Policy and Management stating that such agency does not authorize its officers to use electronic defense weapons.
(c) The Office of Policy and Management shall post the annual reports submitted pursuant to subsection (b) of this section on its Internet web site.
Sec. 2. (NEW) (Effective October 1, 2014) Not later than January 1, 2015, the Police Officer Standards and Training Council established under section 7-294b of the general statutes shall develop and promulgate (1) a model policy that provides guidelines on the use of an electronic defense weapon by a police officer, and (2) a standardized form for reporting the use of electronic defense weapons pursuant to subdivision (1) of subsection (b) of section 1 of this act.