NAACP Reviewing Death, Meriden Police Taser Use

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    NBCConnecticut.com
    Police are investigating after a man died following an altercation with police.

    Connecticut NAACP officials said they are investigating Meriden police's use of a stun gun on an injured man who later died.

    The local NAACP and the ACLU are calling for a moratorium on stun guns and said they are being used unfairly and without proper training.

    NAACP State Conference President Scot Esdaile and Meriden-Wallingford NAACP branch President Jason Teal said they would hold a news conference about the investigation on Tuesday afternoon at the Meriden police department.

    State police are investigating the incident on Sunday night outside the police station. Authorities identified the man Tuesday as 43-year-old Noel Mendoza of Meriden.

    Authorities said Mendoza was bleeding from his hands, acting irrationally and high on drugs.

    Troopers said he became combative and was subdued with a stun gun by Officer Jeff Witkins. Mendoza died at a hospital later that night.

    Mendoza was the third person since 2008 to die after Meriden police used stun guns on them.

    "This young man did not have to die, nor did the other individuals in the Meriden area have to die. There has to be alternatives in how we deal with lethal weapons," Scot X. Esdaile, president of NAACP in Connecticut, said.

    Esdaile said there is a "drastic disparity" in how stun guns are used.

    "Prior to this particular incident, I would say eight out of the victims that have died from Taser use in the State of Connecticut have been black or Hispanic," he said. 

    "Any person in a confrontation with police, even if unarmed, is in danger of potentially being tased and dying," David McGuire, of the Connecticut ACLU, said.

    The medical examiner has not yet ruled on a cause of death.

    Lt. Mark Walerysiak, of Meriden Police, said he’s never heard of a death caused by a Taser. 

    "It is an excellent tool to help subdue and individual, especially instead of using deadly force," he said.

    As for the racial disparity claims, police said you have to consider the demographics.
     
    "If you’re in an area with a large minority population, that doesn’t really come as a surprise to me," he said.
     

     


       

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