BRANFORD - A man died in Branford Sunday after police used a Taser on him. Police say he refused to comply with their requests to stop walking away.
It all started when police were called to a disturbance on Burban Drive at 7:45 p.m. They found David Werblow had left the group home he lived in and was walking down the street.
Police say Werblow was trying to enter cars that were passing by as he walked down the street. Officers ordered him to stop, but he didn't, but they were able to direct the cars to keep driving.
Eventually, Werblow was able to get into a parked car. When Branford officers asked him to get out, he ignored them, according to State Police. A Branford officer then used a Taser on Werblow, and removed him from the vehicle. Police say as additional officers arrived on the scene Werblow became more combative, leading officers to deploy the Taser against him again.
Officers quickly noticed that Werblow was in medical distress as they detained him, and emergency crews took him to Yale-New Haven Hospital.
”I heard one officer say we need to start compressions and that's when they started CPR,” said Dineen Miller, who watched the situation unfold from her kitchen window above the driveway in which Werblow was detained.
Werblow was pronounced dead a short time later.
Other onlookers say that witnessed the incident say Werblow may have been stunned with the Taser as many as three times.
State Police and the New Haven state's attorney's office are investigating the use of force.
David McGuire, staff attorney for the American Civil Liberties Union of Connecticut, said the ACLU is following this investigation closely:
While we do not have any details on the incident in Branford, the American Civil Liberties Union of Connecticut believes this episode reinforces the need for oversight mechanisms associated with Tasers. Stun guns have been linked to the deaths of people throughout Connecticut and we simply don’t have the tools to ensure their use was called for under the circumstances. Taser-cams should be required to verify as conclusively as possible that the use of a stun gun was absolutely necessary. The ACLU of Connecticut will be seeking any available video and documentary evidence on the incident as well as other accounts of what happened.
Last year, the ACLU of Connecticut successfully advocated for the passage of a law that requires police departments that use Tasers or other electronic weapons to adopt policies on their use and to track and report all incidents in which they are deployed.