Once they unholstered their stun guns, police in Connecticut fired them at black and Hispanic subjects at a higher rate than white subjects in 2015, according to an analysis of discharge data collected by the state.
Also, police warned but did not fire at whites at a higher rate than for blacks or Hispanics. These official findings from researchers at the Institute for Municipal and Regional Policy at Central Connecticut State University are in line with a Trend CT analysis from January.
Stun-gun incidents involved minorities 53 percent of the time compared to 47 for white residents.
Of the times a stun gun was unholstered, white males were shocked 60 percent of the time. Hispanic males were shocked 66 percent of the time, and black males were shocked 81 percent of the time.
Although black and Hispanic persons involved in reported taser incidents were more likely than white persons to be stunned, black and Hispanic persons were less likely than whites to be armed. About 19 percent of white males were armed, compared to 16 percent of Hispanic males and 12 percent of black males.
This is the first release of the data, and officials warned against drawing conclusions since the data varies from department to department. Researches said it was likely the numbers were under-reported because many police departments did not report all uses of a taser. Much of the under-reporting appears to have involved incidents in which the stun gun was used in laser-sight or warning arc mode without delivering an electric shock.
Of the 700,000 arrest and traffic stop incidents officers conducted across the state, less than one percent involved the use of a stun gun.
In 2011, the Connecticut ACLU and NAACP began pushing for legislation to ensure police departments were training officers in stun gun use and tracking that use. The law was passed in 2014. Connecticut is the first state in the country requiring its police departments to track stun gun use.
Before this data existed, no one knew how often stun guns were used. Comprehensive data enables policymakers, officials, and watchdog groups to see whether trends exist that might need additional legislation.
Connecticut State Police and Hartford police did not report when a stun gun was arced or laser-sighted (unholstered) and other departments told researchers they did not know of the requirement to report on each different type of activity when it came to stun guns.
Researchers noted that Hartford police also failed to report a stun-gun incident in August that resulted in the death of Matthew Russo in August.
|Thomas Lane||37||2016||New Haven||Black||Story|
|Lashano Gilbert||31||2014||New London||African-American||Story|
|Jose Angel Maldonado||22||2104||East Hartford||Hispanic||Story|
|Seth Victor||40||2013||New Britain||White||Story|
|Ronaldo Cristiano Jr.||51||2011||Bridgeport||White||Story|
|Marcus G. Brown||26||2011||Waterbury||African-American||Story|
|Anibal Rosario Rodriguez||61||2010||New Britain||Hispanic||Story|
|Donovan T. Graham||35||2008||Meriden||African-American||Story|
|Jesus Negron||39||2006||New Britain||Hispanic||Story|
|Miguel Serrano||35||2005||New Britain||Hispanic||Story|
In all, police said stun guns were used 650 times in 2015 involving 610 people
About 94 percent of those stunned were men.
Of those stunned, 83 percent of the people involved were unarmed with 40 percent indicating they were suicidal.
Almost half the logs noted that the persons involved in stun-gun incidents were “under the influence of alcohol/drugs” or “possibly intoxicated.” Researchers urged officers to add more context for future studies.
Of 419 persons who were stunned, more than 60 percent reportedly received only one electric shock and about 30 percent received multiple shocks. Hispanic men were the most likely out to be shocked multiple times.
Researchers said they hoped that data collection would improve in the future, and reporting practices would be clarified so department logs would be more consistent.