New Haven police practices called into question following failed taser incident

NEW HAVEN --  The NAACP and even New Haven’s police chief is critical as to how three relatively inexperienced officers handled themselves during a recent encounter that involved the use of tasers.

On December 3, police encountered 36-year-old Rashae Jamaal King, while he was acting erratically. In fact, he nearly got hit by a car.

Later in the evening, police spotted King walking in to the Whalley Food Market.

“You good bro,” Officer Kenroy Taylor asked of King.

The three officers encounter with King started calmly, but when he didn’t produce his ID and said he was simply there to buy lottery tickets, they lost their patience.

“I don’t care about your lottery ticket. Turn around, turn around, turn around,” yelled Taylor.

Overall, when you watch it from the beginning to the end, my take is that their training was not followed,” said New Haven Police Chief Anthony Campbell.

That training, the chief says, includes lack of de-escalation techniques.

“Face the wall,” instructed Officer Lindsey Nesto.

“Face the wall,” said Taylor.

“Don’t tase me, yo,” begged King. “Don’t tase me!”

“That’s what I’m gonna do. Face the wall,” said Taylor. “Turn around! Turn around! It’s the last time I’m going to tell you. Face the wall.”

Campbell said positives will come from this incident because of newly implemented body cameras.

“Part of the cameras were not just transparency, but accountability,” said Dori Dumas, President of the NAACP New Haven chapter. “So now, once we see something that’s wrong, is that the best way to handle it.”

“Turn around,” Taylor again yelled King several times before shooting him with his taser.

And it wasn’t just the fact that Taylor used his tasers.

“The gentleman never gets tased because the tasers were never properly deployed,” noted Campbell.

Because Taylor had the taser turned sideways, the prongs never hit the target.

Now, New Haven police officers are required to be recertified annually in taser use, “but I think we may need to do it on a more frequent basis,” said Campbell, who added that says the officers will not be disciplined. However, they will be required to undergo re-training at the New Haven Police Academy the day after Christmas.

King, who police believe was under the influence of drugs, has pleaded guilty to nearly a dozen criminal offenses, including those involving drugs, assault and larceny over the last eight years.

A manager of the Whalley Food Market says King is a regular customer and has come in to apologize for the incident.