(Caution: Above video contains footage that might disturb some viewers.)
“What did I do?” an unarmed man with his hands in the air — and believed to be high on PCP — asked police officers as they repeatedly fired taser shots at him inside a Whalley Avenue convenience store, in a scene captured by one of the police department’s new body cameras.
You can watch the scene in the above video, released to the Independent Thursday in response to a Connecticut Freedom of Information Act request.
Top cops have been watching that video over and over since the incident it captures took place at 9:18 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 3, inside Whalley Food Market at the corner of Whalley Avenue and Hobart Street.
The video caused consternation within the department, as some officers feared that other officers had mistreated a citizen and gotten away with it. Those officers’ fears led to a review of the incident by the department’s assistant chiefs. And that review was aided greatly by the existence of head-on video captured on one of the 800 Axon body-worn cameras the department purchased and then began distributing to all officers in November.
After the review, the chiefs came to two conclusions, Assistant Chief Racheal Cain, who oversees internal affairs and department protocols, said in an interview Thursday afternoon.
Conclusion one: The officers involved “did not violate any of the general orders” by using their tasers and OC (pepper) spray on the arrestee, 36-year-old Rashae Jamaal King.
Conclusion two: “We do believe that things could have been done better.”
The department is not disciplining the officers, Cain said. But it has ordered them to go to the police academy for retraining.
Specifically, she said, the officers could have done more to de-escalate the confrontation with King before it turned violent. And the officers improperly deployed their tasers, she said. That’s why they shot so many times; the two prongs failed to penetrate to King’s skin and immobilize him.
The department is continuing an internal investigation in the case — not in the conduct of the officers, but into allegations that someone else in the department distributed an image from the body camera video on social media. Cain said she wanted to make sure the video itself had not distributed on social media, before she made the video available to the Independent.
King — who has pleaded guilty in 11 separate criminal offenses involving drugs, assault, and larceny, among other offenses, since 2009, according to state records — was released after the misdemeanor arrest on a promise to appear in court. An ambulance crew took him to the Yale-New Haven St. Raphael campus for medical attention. He has not yet entered a plea in the case. He could not be reached for comment for this story.
He has not filed a complaint with the police department over the incident, according to Cain.
Besides raising questions about the department’s use of tasers and of the efficacy of its de-escalation training, the incident shows how the new age of body cameras will add to public discussion about police interactions with citizens. Cain said the department obtained the cameras to build “transparency” and “accountability.” This is the first public case to put that proposition to the test.
What The Video Shows
The video shows three officers — Lindsey Nesto, Gregory Reynolds, and Kenroy Taylor— entering the Whalley Food Market. They’d been looking for a man who earlier in the evening had been acting erratically in the neighborhood. He was believed to be high on PCP, bothering citizens, blocking traffic, yelling, “Call the cops!”
The man was reported to have entered the store. The cops did find him inside. He was calmly buying lottery tickets from the clerk, Mohammed Elmarzouk.
The video shows the officers approaching him.
“You got an ID on you?” one asks.
“Yes I do,” King responds.
An officer asks to “take a look at it real quick.”
“I’m here to buy a lottery ticket for my mother,” King responds.
The officer keeps asking to see the ID. King continues not to produce it, continuing with the purchase.
“Where’s your ID, bro?”
“I’m here buying a lottery ticket.”
“I don’t care about the lottery ticket. Where’s your ID?” one officer asks.
To which another adds: “Turn around. Turn around.”
King is then shown putting his hands behind his back.
“Why you bothering me? I didn’t do nothing.”
“Cover for me,” one officer is heard telling another.
“I didn’t do nothing, yo!”
The cops move in. King still has his hands behind his back.
“The camera’s on,” he tells them.
“Camera’s on. I didn’t do nothing.”
King asks which way they want him to turn around.
“Face the wall.”
He starts to turn. Then he looks at the officers. Officer Taylor is aiming a taser gun at him.
“Don’t tase me yo!” King calls out.
“That’s what I’m going to do now,” Taylor responds.
“What for? It’s on camera! Please!”
“This is the last time I’m gonna tell you,” an officer declares.
King turns to Elmarzouk, the clerk: “See what’s going on?”
“Turn around! Turn around!”
Two blasts are fired. “Turn around!”
The tasings do not penetrate through King’s clothing. He turns around, thrusts his hands in the air. “Please call the cops!” he cries.
Then he removes his jacket. “Yo! Listen! I didn’t do anything! You can’t do this!”
King moves partway behind a display for Elite iPhone cases and chargers. An officer fires another taser shot.
“Why y’all doing this? Help! Help! Help!”
“Get on the ground!” orders an officer.
“I’m trying to get on the ground! You’re tasing me! You’re tasing me!”
“I’m gonna tase you again! I said turn around! Get on the ground!”
“Get! On! The ground!”
“I didn’t do nothing!” King repeats. Then he starts slapping his cheeks with both hands.
The orders continue. Instead of getting to the ground, King cries for help and crouches behind a lottery display, which falls to the ground. He grabs a “Scratch Games” sign declaring “WE SOLD A $1,000 WINNER!” as a shield.
Then he inches toward the officers, one of whom commands, “Get back!” King steps back.
“You’re not getting to the ground?” an officer asks.
“I got the phone and the camera right here,” King says, moving toward the main counter. He hops on the counter. An officer fires the taser again. Another officer fires the OC/pepper spray.
King hops back down, then up again on the counter, several times. “They’re trying to kill me!” King cries.
An officer grabs King’s leg; King falls backward behind the counter, then stands back up and runs to the right. One officer hops over the counter and chases him; another runs around the other side.
They catch him, wrestle him to the ground, subdue him.
“Wipe my DNA off,” he appears to be asking as they handcuff him.
Police charged him with on disorderly conduct and interfering. An AMR crew arrived and took King to the Yale-New Haven St. Raphael campus for medical attention.
What The Officers Wrote
Officer Nesto gave the official version of the case in a written incident report obtained by the Independent. Here’s her account:
She and fellow Officers Reynolds and Taylor responded to a call of “an emotionally disturbed person running up and down the street” and “appear[ing] to be under the influence of something” on Whalley. She arrived to find the suspect walking into the Whalley Food Market. She recognized the man from an encounter an hour and a half earlier, when she and Officer Kenroy Taylor had seen him pacing Ellsworth Avenue “erratically, yelling ‘Call the police!’” scaring a woman on the street, blocking traffic and almost getting run over. He escaped from them at that point.
Now the officers followed the man into the food market. He told Nesto he “was trying to buy a lottery ticket for someone.” The officers repeatedly asked him for identification. He “took out his wallet,” but rather than showing ID, he spoke “erratically” and nonsensically, at times repeating, “Call the cops.”
The man “appeared to be under the influence of an unknown substance. [His] eyes were glassy, his speech was slurred and he was sweating profusely. Through my training and experience, he was showing symptoms of someone who has recently used PCP,” Nesto wrote.
The man refused an order to put his hands behind his back, instead, he raised them, kneeled, then headed for the exit. The officers blocked him; he “became physically aggressive.”
Officer Taylor allegedly warned him several times he’d be tased if he didn’t stop. He “would not comply,” so Taylor shot him with the taser. The tasing “was unsuccessful due to [the target] having a hooded sweatshirt and a thick jacket.” The man “took off his jacket and got into a fighting stance.” The officers warned the man again. Officer Taylor executed two more “unsuccessful” tasings and then one by Nesto.
Next Taylor hit the man with OC spray. The target “was not affected and still disregarded… commands.”
Instead, he “jumped over the counter.” Reynolds “tried to grab” him, but instead “went over the counter” with him. From behind the counter, the man sought to flee; Nesto blocked him. Then she and her two fellow officers took him to the ground “in an attempt to handcuff him.” The man allegedly fought back and “tried to tuck his hands under his chest in an attempt to not be handcuffed.”
Nesto radioed for backup officers, who arrived and helped restrain the man and handcuff him.
After he went to the hospital, all three officers filed reports. Reynolds’ and Taylor’s reports echoed Nesto’s.
The cashier who witnessed the events, Elmarzouk, echoed the officers’ version, in an interview with the Independent.
“This was the craziest thing I’ve seen” in 11 years working behind the counter at Whalley Market, Elmarzouk, a native of Morocco, said one subsequent evening in between selling lottery tickets, candy, and tobacco products to a steady stream of customers. The arrestee, he said, “was out of control.”
Note: We decided to publish the name of the arrestee here because the story centers on how police dealt with him — and because his actions were clearly shown on the video—meaning there is independent evidence to support or not support what police say happened. Our policy, in general, is not to publish the names of arrestees based solely on police accounts of alleged crimes unless we have their side, they have entered a plea, the case has been adjudicated, or there is an overriding public-interest reason for doing so. We also did try to contact the arrestee, with no success.
This is disturbing. I am amazed that no disciplinary action against the officers was taken.
I support the police in all the things they do ... except flagrant abuses of citizens’ rights and misuse of the public trust. However, this person does nothing to warrant being used as taser target practice.He appears lucid and in control of his faculties. He is non-aggressive. He is being defensive not combative. I just don’t see where any cause for arrest exists. It is not enough for an officer to arrest you for failing to show ID. Without more, it is not enough for an officer to arrest you for failing to “get on the ground”. It is certainly not a crime to be in the store buying lottery tickets.
Retraining? I don’t think it stops there.
posted by: Hill North on December 21, 2017 8:13pm
So so sad. How could you Assistant Chief Rachel Cain justify that torture.
posted by: southwest on December 21, 2017 8:35pm
It obviously this man is mentally ill or on drugs….a good observation from well trained officers would have known this or they were just so gunho with attitude…they are suppose to deescalate not escalate a situation..what happen to talking calm to a person that’s wasn’t a threat in my opinion…..why taser the guy because it’s obviously he had mental health issues and that is no way to treat one..don’t want to here cops version I felt threatened because a blind man could see that was not a threat..I support the PoPo if they are right….I’m so sick and tired of the retraing BS..that’s just a ploy when the department no the officer messed up royally so now they appease the victim and the public by saying retraing which is really a big joke the officers doesn’t take retraing seriously because they will go out and do it again because theiy are problem officers in the beginning…they need to be better screened before they come on ...if not taxpayers will be picking up the tab…
posted by: Colin Ryan on December 21, 2017 9:00pm
This is really hard to watch. I’m sure these kinds of encounters are extremely difficult and not uncommon for officers to deal with. And it’s not easy to pass judgement about such a charged situation that you weren’t a part of.
But this person is clearly suffering from drug addiction and/or mental illness. He’s confused, he’s scared, and he’s feebly pleading and hiding behind a piece of cardboard to protect himself from violence. In this video, if no one was wearing a uniform, and three people rolled into that store pointing tasers at the customer buying a lotto ticket, it wouldn’t be clear who was playing the role of criminal.
posted by: BREAL on December 21, 2017 9:05pm
After reviewing this video, I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry! After crying due to my uncontrollable laughter, it was apparent that these cops were not trained properly! Actually there training Officer should be disciplined for there poor tactics. They all seemed deathly afraid to place there hands on his wrists and handcuff him for officer safety. An otherwise, simple incident, resulted in a “clown show!” Please Hamden, Norwalk and North Haven, take all three of these comedians to your towns! This was pathetic policing at its finest! Thanks for the laugh and the forthcoming lawsuit that will elevate my taxes even further!
posted by: nero on December 21, 2017 9:32pm
“(Caution: Above video contains footage that might disturb some viewers.)”
Anyone not disturbed by this video either can’t distinguish between TV and real life, or their humanity has fled. As others have noted, the guy appears either drugged or mentally disturbed, but doesn’t appear to be a threat to others or himself.
The police officers seem unreasonably frightened of this man. Aren’t they trained to deal with these situations and de-escalate? Why are law enforcement professionals behaving so unprofessionally? Sure it’s a tough job, but if a cop can’t handle the stress calmly and reasonably he or she needs to find another vocation.
New Haven citizens deserve better. We shouldn’t be scared to leave our homes because frightened cops might go out of control. Protect and serve.
posted by: SparkJames on December 22, 2017 12:11am
“You got an ID on you?” one asks.
“Yes I do,” King responds.
An officer asks to “take a look at it real quick.”
I say cops shouldn’t approach citizens with this line. It’s a threat.
posted by: markcbm on December 22, 2017 12:21am
what happened to de-escalation?
posted by: Nathan on December 22, 2017 1:26am
While it’s clear the man has some issues and understanding that complying with a police officer is usually the best policy (especially when a taser is pointed at you), there are numerous questions raised by the conduct of the officers. Since when is refusal to provide ID (when not operating a motor vehicle) an offense worthy of arrest? When did the officers (at first) actually inform the man he was under arrest or being detained? Is “turn around” considered such a reasonable declaration? Is deployment of a taser authorized in this situation - one that has involved mere seconds of interaction and has involved no aggressive action by someone?
posted by: New Haven Taxpayer on December 22, 2017 1:30am
I feel bad for the cops, not this guy. This guy was a nuisance in a private business. The owner/manager felt the need to call the police to get help.How it should have been handled? Just let him continue his nonsense? Wait until the high wears off? Keep three cops in this store all night till he goes away? Say pretty please?
All you bleeding hearts, all you experts: What would you do to de-escalate the situation? He wouldn’t or couldn’t respond to even simple commands to turn around or get on the ground. What do YOU do? I hope he gets high again and walks into your home next time and you can sympathize with him all night if you want, just don’t call the police they might need to use -agh! force.
What is inside his jacket; nothing or maybe a gun? Tough call, I don’t want to have to make it. What would you do? I think I would have taken out my club and bopped him on the head. And I would have done it 4 and a half minutes sooner than these cops got physical AND it would have worked quicker than those tasers, they seemed to have little, if any effect.
Thanks to all the NHPD that are called to respond to this type of thing every day, you showed great patience and restraint. Those cameras help show the malarky you have to put up with, and the good jobs the vast majority of officers do regularly. Keep up the good work!
posted by: new havener on December 22, 2017 1:38am
a) be honest, if you found yourself in the cops shoes, there’s not much different you can do. he acknowledged and disregarded every request—-repeatedly.
b) tasers seem to seasonally dependent(i.e.—they suck in winter with heavy clothing)
c) body-cams seem to work well
posted by: narcan on December 22, 2017 2:55am
Good lord, that looks terrible.
That man looked like he was no threat! (while he is likely high on PCP with all of the violent and dangerous side effects that entails and totally oblivious to what was happening around him.)
Why didn’t the officers de-escalate the situation? (With a person who does not have any awareness of who is talking to him and is refusing to engage with them, while still presenting a threat due to his drug induced state.)
They should have just grabbed him and handcuffed him! (Well, sure. Try that with someone under the influence of any drug, nevermind PCP, and don’t get seriously injured yourself in the process. Why bother with all those tools they give you, just go hands on!)
Physical force is ugly, but if we do not want our police to be able to resort to using force to overcome resistance in order to enforce the law, there ain’t much point in having them around. This whole sad debacle could have been avoided had Mr. King made any of several choices that would have avoided contact with police like most of us do, or cooperated with them like the rational among us do.
Why would anyone want to be a police officer today with all our keyboard expert scrutiny threatening to sacrifice their livelihood on every call in the name of social outrage?
posted by: roon215 on December 22, 2017 7:30am
All those officers will be suspended, I am surely this is the only action that is needed to be taken now (http://imp.mn/nS3JL) . SHAME..
posted by: roon215 on December 22, 2017 7:31am
Are those involved in this mishap are suspended or not?
posted by: teachermama on December 22, 2017 8:49am
In the classroom we often deescalate difficult situations. It’s hard, in the thick of it, to make the right call. You start to feel that the road you are on is the only option. But one clue to whether you are doing the right thing is whether or not the other person is _capable_ of changing their behavior at that moment. _Could_ this man have complied with any of those requests? Clearly not. He didn’t seem to understand their words. He was too scared, too vulnerable, too altered.
More than deescalation, this is about empathy. Outnumbered by multiple strong, armed officers, this confused man was left begging for mercy on a floor behind a shield of cardboard.
What was there to deescalate? Only one thing: the behavior of the officers.
Where were the empathetic cops the man called out for, as he walked the streets? Where was his help? Where was that caring team in the store, to talk down those maddened assaulters?
posted by: Timothy G. ORourke Jr. on December 22, 2017 8:56am
I do not think that the officers acted in a way that escalated the situation at all. Period. The man was non-responsive to authority. Again, period. I applaud the proactive use of tasers to protect police officers. On a side-note, I find it very interesting that not only did a black man tase another black man but also ordered a white man to tase him too. These body cameras a going to a wonderful reality check to those who push their erroneous agenda by adhering to identity politics rather than the truth once aggregate statistics can be gathered in New Haven regarding their use and correlated proportionally based on the race who uses them versus the race on which they are used per incident.
posted by: SparkJames on December 22, 2017 9:14am
“Lemme see your papers”.
New Haven Tax Payer— Did I miss the part in the article or video That said the store owner called the police to the store?
Police chose to harass him there. He became resistant AFTER they demanded his papers.
Timothy, the world doesn’t respect the same authority as you might. Some authority is BS power tripping. Some authority sits on golden thrones while pretending to pray for poor lepers. I don’t honor that authority. The man purportedly on PCP could represent all the poor and sick people Mother Theresa let die without proper medical help.
There are different definitions of authority in a variety of contexts. That said, I applaud the police for only using tasers and not firearms.
posted by: Ozzie on December 22, 2017 9:26am
Being pro cop I must say that these three cops appear to be afraid of their own shadow. They are obviously inexperienced and not well trained. ( but then again the whole Department is ) From the Chief’s office on down through the Patrol Division . But the Taxpayers don’t see it . What do these three cops have like 7 years on the job total between them ? This is what the City gets when you have no veteran cops that actually know how to do the job and can properly field train officers. Years ago rookies were trained by officers who had 8 to 10 years on the the job .Now rookies are being field trained by officers who graduated from the academy class before them . As for the people who trained these cops in the Academy, the Academy was always known as a dumping ground for people who had connections , needed to be hidden, or for people who could not do the job on the street ! I can see all the Lawyers lining up at this guys arraignment to sign him up as a client to sue the Cops. This situation should have been handled in a totally different way . Policing in the City is obviously going to get a lot worse before it gets better and it’s going to cost the taxpayers a lot of money !
I find it hard to imagine that any thinking person can watch that video and see the initial behavior by the officers as justified based on what’s visible in the recording.
A person is under no obligation to produce an ID upon request by a police officer, unless, as Nathan pointed, he’s operating a motor vehicle or I suppose engaged in some other activity that requires a license.
It’s the initial actions by the officers (demanding an ID, ordering Mr. King to turn around and then still threatening to use a Taser once he was turned around with his hands behind his back) that led directly to this encounter spiraling out of control.
I respectfully submit that those who saw nothing to criticize in the behavior of the police should ask themselves if they really want to live in a society where government authority is allowed to act this way. One wonders about the overlap between the people justifying this behavior and those who thought our last president was a tyrant.
Did I miss something? The store clerk is quoted as saying that Mr. King was “out of control.” Does he mean before or after the police started tasing him? Because again, I didn’t see that in the video.
posted by: Timothy G. ORourke Jr. on December 22, 2017 9:42am
Thank you for responding.
There is one objective authority in that situation: the police. They must be absolutely respected. A citizen must comply with the request of the police to provide I.D. If this video shows nothing more, it shows that this must immediately be done. One does not carry out their private business as usual when public, executive authority has intervened. These body cameras are going to be incredibly useful in court, which according to you the man WOULD have had a case for harassment. All the man had to do was comply. He didn’t. That’s enough for me and I am sure it is enough for the police. Enough is enough. We need to start teaching civics again.
posted by: Marion on December 22, 2017 10:43am
Please, look at what the cops have to put up with. With a criminal history like his? Just do what the cops tell you to do and there would be no dramas like this. The cops did nothing wrong. Stop all the hyper criticism.
posted by: Trustme on December 22, 2017 11:26am
Clearly this poor man has mental issues and the cops made this man’s life much worse.
What ever happen to speaking with the man and attempt to build a raport????? And if that does NOT work, wait for the ambulance and then go hands on.
The main issue here is that there is a cop with 2 years on the street giving the other 2 (who have even less time on the job) verbal commands and that’s scary.
The real problem here is that there is no leadership and no experience on the street. This pathetic city doesn’t know how to retain our GOOD cops who are jumping ship in alarming numbers to other towns, AND THATS SCARY.
Yes, I agree that we need to start teaching civics again, especially in light of the staggering lack of awareness regarding constitutional rights. First, none of these are instructions with which a person is legally required to comply:
“You got an ID on you?”
Can I “take a look at it real quick.”
“Where’s your ID, bro?”
“I don’t care about the lottery ticket. Where’s your ID?”
When one of the officers does give an instruction (“Turn around”) Mr. King immediately complies and puts his hands behind his back and even asks which way they want him to turn.
The Palestinian poet Mourid Barghouti writes that if you want to dispossess a people, the simplest way to do it is to tell their story and to start with, “secondly.” Start the story with the arrows of the Native Americans, and not with the arrival of the British, and you have an entirely different story. Start the story with the failure of the African state, and not with the colonial creation of the African state, and you have an entirely different story.
Similarly, if you begin Mr. King’s story with “he resisted” and ignore everything that came before you are failing to acknowledge the complete picture.
posted by: Enough Is Enough on December 22, 2017 11:45am
Question: How many New Haven cops does it take to manage and contain the subject in that video without using any force?
Answer: One. Unfortunately, he and most of his colleagues retired long ago.
posted by: Razzie on December 22, 2017 12:25pm
@ Timothy G. O’Rourke, Jr.—“There is one objective authority in that situation: the police. They must be absolutely respected. A citizen must comply with the request of the police to provide I.D.”
You forgot to put “LOL” at the end of that statement.
Police authority stems from lawfully enacted statutes and ordinances, NOT from the whim and caprice of any individual patrol officer. If there is no law that requires Mr. King to produce ID for the officer’s inspection, he is NOT obligated to produce it. If he were obligated to produce ID in that situation, he would have been charged with “failure to produce ID”. He was not so charged, so I must assume he was not required to submit to that command.
I do understand the practical side of your comment … that citizens should obey cops when ordered to do so. The consequences of disobedience can often be painful, dangerous and potentially life-threatening. The point to be made is that every command by police authority does not have to be obeyed. But it makes all the difference in the world by the manner in which you question their authority. Mr. King’s decidedly unpleasant evening will now likely be fully compensated by the taxpayers thru a claim against the City and the 3 cops individually for their assaultive behavior. The resulting cost should be levied against, and paid for, by the Police Department budget and not the general fund. Maybe that would give the PD brass enough incentive to fix their training lapses.
posted by: THREEFIFTHS on December 22, 2017 12:30pm
posted by: Timothy G. ORourke Jr. on December 22, 2017 7:56am
I find it very interesting that not only did a black man tase another black man but also ordered a white man to tase him too.
How systemic racism entangles all police officers — even black cops
Neill Franklin is a black man. But he’ll admit that after decades of working at the Baltimore Police Department and Maryland State Police, he harbored a strong bias against young black men.In the case of police, all cops are dealing with enormous cultural and systemic forces that build racial bias against minority groups. Even if a black cop doesn’t view himself as racist, the way policing is done in the US is racially skewed — by, for example, targeting high-crime neighborhoods that are predominantly black. Inequities in law enforcement can create “a vicious cycle” in which black residents are fearful of police, making them more likely to display discomfort around cops, which in turn makes officers more likely to perceive black residents as suspicious.
Police enforce the law in a racially skewed manner.
Inequities in law enforcement can create “a vicious cycle” in which black residents are fearful of police, making them more likely to display discomfort around cops, which in turn makes officers more likely to perceive black residents as suspicious.Over time, police officers are effectively conditioned toward implicit bias. When cops are thrown into situations every day in which black people are viewed as criminal suspects, they begin to identify people’s race as an indicator for crime and danger.
The question I would ask if tis happen in the white suburbs to a white person would they have done the same thing?
posted by: Nathan on December 22, 2017 12:37pm
“There is one objective authority in that situation: the police. They must be absolutely respected. A citizen must comply with the request of the police to provide I.D. “
Respected? Sure, in terms of obeying lawful orders. And it’s wise to comply as much as possible and argue and/or file a lawsuit later. But, what makes you think there is a requirement to have and present ID to a law enforcement officer in this situation?
posted by: THREEFIFTHS on December 22, 2017 12:51pm
Part Two. There is one objective authority in that situation: the police. They must be absolutely respected. A citizen must comply with the request of the police to provide I.D.
You still have to have a reason to stop me and ask for I.D.Comply?Again they have to give me a reason why they are stoping me.This reminds me of stop and frisk program which was practice of temporarily detaining, questioning, and at times searching civilians on the street. The vast majority of those stopped were African-American or Latino, most of whom were aged 14–24. who Made the call?
posted by: SwampfoxII on December 22, 2017 9:43am Please, look at what the cops have to put up with. With a criminal history like his? Just do what the cops tell you to do and there would be no dramas like this. The cops did nothing wrong. Stop all the hyper criticism
How about the police officers who have Citizen Complaints about Police Use of Force?How come that is never printed.
posted by: TheMadcap on December 22, 2017 12:59pm
“The cops did nothing wrong
I mean how muchof a cheerleader do you need to be when ever the department said this could have been handled better
posted by: THREEFIFTHS on December 22, 2017 1:47pm
For all you pro Police People.This is how the system rewards poilce when the do things like this.
Two Bronx cops punished for roles in Ramarley Graham shooting
Two cops are being disciplined for their roles in the shooting death of an unarmed Bronx man, police sources said Thursday.
NYPD Sgt. Scott Morris and Officer John McLoughlin faced departmental charges in connection with the killing of 18-year-old Ramarley Graham in February 2012. On Thursday, their cases were settled.Morris will be suspended for 30 days without pay, then will resign without the “good guy” letter that would have allowed him to carry a weapon, sources said.
Wow.They even give you a good guy letter that will allowed him to carry a weapon,
McLoughlin, meanwhile, accepted a penalty of 45 lost vacation days and was placed on dismissal probation for a year — meaning he could be fired for any infraction, sources said.
And this goes on for the poilce around the country.
posted by: Ozzie on December 22, 2017 2:15pm
The cops knew this guy was geeked because they had dealt with him 90 minutes earlier and the guy ran away . As soon as they walked into the store and the guy went to put his hands behind his back the first cop should have grabbed him and took him to the ground if not for anything other then officer safety. Seems to me the cops failed to follow the use and escalation of force policy, and jumped right to the use of the taser. Sometime people you have to get your hands dirty because those tools on your tool belt just don’t work !!!
posted by: narcan on December 22, 2017 2:57pm
@William Kurtz that kind of advice is exactly why incidents like this happen in the first place.
If a police officer has reasonable suspicion to investigate you, they may detain and require you to identify yourself. Whether or not you have actually committed a crime is irrelevant. This has been settled by SCOTUS, so I’m not sure what legal opinions you are relying upon. The faster they can do their due diligence and ensure you are not who they are looking for, the faster the actual bad guys are caught and the less we are all inconvenienced.
In this case, it hardly seems to matter as Mr. King did not seem to be basing his non-cooperation on even a flawed interpretation of constitutional law. He simply had no idea who he was talking to or why. Those among us who have never gotten into a drop down drag out fight with someone dusted up on PCP will not fully appreciate the danger someone in that condition poses.
If a police officer has reasonable suspicion to investigate you, they may detain and require you to identify yourself. Whether or not you have actually committed a crime is irrelevant. This has been settled by SCOTUS, so I’m not sure what legal opinions you are relying upon
I am curious what legal opinion you are relying on. Yes, if the police have reasonable suspicion that a person has committed a crime they are free to stop and investigate that person. But Connecticut does not have a law requiring a person to show identification. In other words, the mere failure of Mr. King to produce an ID upon request—not in response to an order, remember. That’s clear in the video—is not in itself a crime.
I’m also curious about your belief that Mr. King had no idea who he was talking to or why.
posted by: northwest on December 22, 2017 9:14pm
Police Officers have a challenging occupation balancing the safety of all our citizens while respecting the rights of those who apparently are not following the rules. In this case, an obviously emotionally disturbed person (for unknown reason-substance abuse or psychological) who had been walking into the street blocking traffic, and causing a dangerous situation for himself , motorists , and citizens was confronted at the store - and failed to comply for officers trying in their own manner, to control the situation - which in turn would control the citizen’s actions which already had been provocative. Could they have done things differently- possibly- but I cannot answer on their protocols or training. But the citizen was treated and went home that night. Imagine if he had been struck in the street by an auto, then there may have been more second guessing. This writer’s belief is that the Officers’ intent was to limit and control the situation. Training and reinstruction would seem appropriate (however unpalatable it may be for some.
posted by: SparkJames on December 22, 2017 10:35pm
Ozzie, you seem to know the business, so I’m not questioning your authority on this… but weren’t the cops just taking an educated guess that the subject from earlier was the same guy in the store? I thought there were just “reports” of a guy acting weird an hour before, not cops interacting with that guy.
posted by: 1644 on December 23, 2017 8:45pm
William Kurtz: The “reasonable suspicion” standard is in Terry v.Ohio,. I believe court said officers could briefly detain and question a citizen if he had reasonable suspicion that criminal activity is afoot. The officer is allowed to do a pat-down for weapons to ensure his own safety. We don’t have pass laws in the United States, nor even any national identity cards. (In fact, states cannot require identity cards to vote.) Moreover, even if there is probable cause, let alone only reasonable suspicion, we all retain our fifth amendment right not to incriminate ourselves. So, while the officers may ask for identification, I don’t see how one could be legally required to produce it. How they they demand he produce something he isn’t required to have? The man here repeated asked what he had done wrong, and the officers never answered. The man struck me as lucid and aware. I did not see a “fighting stance”, nor any threat that he posed to the officers. If the officers were arresting him, they should have said so, and why, and taken him into custody, “Sir, you are under arrest for disorderly conduct.”, etc. We should also remember that while Tasers are less lethal than firearms, they can still be lethal. Branford police tasered a man to death a few years ago, when he posed no immediate threat. Branford paid a hefty wrongful death claim.
posted by: Ozzie on December 24, 2017 10:42am
@Sparky , In the article , Nesto writes in the second paragraph of her report , that when they arrived at the store she recognized the guy from an incident an hour and a half earlier on Ellsworth Ave, where he was acting erratically, but he escaped ( or where they chose to do nothing ) which is probably what really happened. After what transpired in the store they’re probably wishing they grabbed him the first time .
posted by: johny123 on December 25, 2017 3:06am
the heck with that guy he got what he deserved.whos going to pay for the damage he did to the store? not him im sure.and body cams suck you get blocked vision from the hands.
posted by: thecove on December 25, 2017 1:18pm
Yeah…I hate to Monday morning QB, but this one’s ugly…Real ugly. No de-escalation attempts whatsoever! I looks to me like this guy could have been talked down by more experienced officers. Officer’s need to transition from utilizing the robotical levels of force taught in initial training to learning how to talk and build rapport. I’ve seen situations where individuals were initially out of control and by the time a good experienced cop was done talking to them, they practically handcuffed themselves! Some cops possess this skill immediately, for others it takes some time, some, unfortunately, never get it.
posted by: Razzie on December 25, 2017 7:26pm
“Reasonable suspicion” mentioned by SCOTUS relates to reasonable suspicion that a CRIME has been committed.
The only potential crime mentioned was his failure to produce ID, or otherwise comply with the officers instructions. I repeat, there is no such crime as “failing to produce ID (other than in motor vehicle related incidents). Thus, the notion that cops can walk up and tase you whenever they believe it is in your best interest, is ludicrous, and will invariably lead to sizable damage awards. We are all lucky that the officers over-the-top actions and repeated tasings did not result in death or permanent impairment of bodily functions. Tasers are not toys.
posted by: T-ski1417 on December 26, 2017 8:35am
Based solely on what I see on the video this was a failure on several levels. Understanding that I was not there and Connor recreate the emotions and tensions of he encounter, this is still pretty bad.
There is a total breakdown in communication between the officers and subject and between themselves as well as deescalation techniques, Taser deployment, use of force, environmental awareness, definitions of force types and so on.
I’m also curious to know why Ofc. Nesto authored the initial report when Taylor took over the line of communication with the subject as well as tasered and sprayed him first. They all look like scared children. At one point you can see Taylors hand shaking, which could be from an adrenaline rush but I doubt it. Nesto was useless and Reynolds tasered the subject when Taylor told him to. Aren’t you supposed to apply force as you see fit based on your perceptions and not when someone else tells you? I will say that at least he finally went hands on, however he could have done that at the beginning of the video.
Lastly what was the crime being investigated. From my understanding they did receive a call about a subject 90 minutes earlier but did they clear it or write a report. My guy tell me that cleared it without a report so essentially you have nothing. If this guy is on PCP, based on a combined experience of 5 years, how was he able to walk into the store and have a conversation with the clerk and order a lotto ticked. At one point he pulled out some cards to look for ID after he was asked.
posted by: positive4NH7462 on December 26, 2017 2:59pm
This video is horrific. I support our NHPD, but this is a bit much. It is apparently evident that these officers need a course in mental health training. This man did not ever pose a threat to them, and I can not see any reason to use a taser or even pepper him at all. He was apparently buying lottery tickets, and he stated he was doing nothing but buying his grandmother her tickets. As far as I know that in itself is not a crime, neither is not producing ID for no reason. The article never mentioned that the store owner called for help it stated that he was supposedly acting erratically on the street earlier. The officer said in the report that he appeared to be someone that was high on PCP. Well if that were their thought, yes an ambulance would have been an answer rather than escalate this situation. This situation is precisely the case of inexperience that we have within our NHPD. Yes, our experienced quality officers have moved on to better-paying jobs, and at this point, I would even say better jobs period. It is clear that our city needs an overhaul of all departments and it doesn’t look like it is going to happen anytime soon. Our schools, our police department, and many other departments within the city are failing us, taxpayers. I look to be positive for New Haven, but it gets harder and harder each day with the events that continually occur. It seems the only positive lately is when it is time to party. Light the tree on the green and have a crowd to say what a fantastic city we live. It’s not only about the party, let us look at what is supposed to make this city operate. Our schools are failing our children, while the city departments are failing us, taxpayers. Something has to change to save this city. Don’t get me wrong, there are some good things about living in New Haven, but it’s getting tougher and tougher. Let’s try to make a change - Positive for New Haven!
posted by: narcan on December 27, 2017 12:26am
For educational purposes of the 4th and 5th Amendment cheerleaders, the SCOTUS case that found IDing yourself does not arise to the level of an unreasonable intrusion or could be expected to produce self-incriminating evidence is called Hiibel v. Nevada. In Connecticut, it is used under the Interfering with an Officer statute, which states any action that hinders an investigation is a violation.
I am guessing, based on the story given and the article excerpts from the official report, they were investigating King for Disorderly Conduct in the earlier incident.
So, we have a violation of law, an investigation taking place, and then we have police using force for overcome resistance to that investigation (which has also been found lawful by CT Supreme Court).
We can sit and say he did not appear to be a threat or they should have just grabbed him sooner…well…maybe. But unless you have actually wrestled with someone high on PCP before, you only have a second hand opinion on the matter and very little appreciation for the real risks involved.
posted by: 1644 on December 27, 2017 2:08pm
Not addressed in the article or comments, how did the cops know that King was the man who was acting erratically outside? Inside, he seems quite rational and in control, asking reasonable questions like, “what did I do?,” questions which the cops never answered. At no time does he threaten the cops or anyone else. As far as hiding behind the displays, that is rational to protect himself from a taser. Not knowing that the cops were responding to a report, which would be King’s level of knowledge, it’s the cops who are out of control, violently assaulting King when he had done nothing more than buy a lottery ticket. I, also, note the demeanor of the woman exiting the store as the cops go in. She is calm and unrushed, an indication that nothing bizarre was happening inside the store.
posted by: Razzie on December 27, 2017 4:14pm
Take heed. It is dangerous to ASSume that a case decision from a Nevada jurisdiction has anything to do with an arrest incident thousands of miles away in CT.
The summary of facts points out a BIG DIFFERENCE between that Nevada case and the one here in CT. “Nevada has a “stop-and-identify” law that allows police officers to detain any person they encounter “under circumstances which reasonably indicate that the person has committed, is committing or is about to commit a crime”; the person may be detained only to “ascertain his identity and the suspicious circumstances surrounding his presence abroad.”
Unfortunately for your argument, the New Haven police officers do not have the benefit of any statutory authority to “stop and identify” Mr. King, as was present in the Hiibel arrest. Hence we are back to my original statement that there was no legal basis for the order to show ID. Cops cannot invent reasons to stop, detain and arrest citizens who are otherwise law abiding. He was engaged in buying a lottery ticket. And it does not appear that King was ever told he was under arrest prior to the beginning of the tasings. Officers are not invested with absolute, unchecked authority to act as they feel whenever they feel an urge to interact with public citizens.I hope that is part of the re-training they are scheduled to receive.
Do cops overstep their authority? Sometimes. And in those instances there is always a legal remedy that can be pursued, regardless of whether the NHPD disciplines the officers or not. And regardless of whether we observers sympathize with the cops or with the victims.
posted by: 1644 on December 28, 2017 2:20am
“As we understand it, the statute does not require a suspect to give the officer a driver’s license or any other document. ” Hiibel, at 185. So, Narcan, do you have an opinion which permits police not only to require someone to identify themselves, but to show identification? Because the Hiibel opinion does not. I would also wonder, given that Hiibel contradicted prior opinions, if the Connecticut Supreme has ruled on the issue, and whether a requirement to identify oneself comports with the Connecticut Constitution. Again, I cannot see how the police can require a man, even if there is reasonable suspicion, to produce something he is not required to have. BTW, given the strong Caribbean accent of the lead officer, I could not understand him when he asked for “id”.
posted by: former employee on December 28, 2017 2:53am
I am a former employee of the New Haven Police Dept. In my opinion, 75% of the New Haven police officers are horrible. The behavior that you see here is typical of what I saw everyday working at the police station. I hope this guy has a good lawyer and gets millions. This has to stop I don’t know who hires these “people” but I always thought that they need a new hiring process and new people that do the hiring. Those cops should be fired No wonder the guy was freaking out who wouldn’t be petrified the way they handled the situation. They escalated what should have been a minor incident Tony Harp should wake up and demand that the horrible cops are fired. I know many cops that don’t even respond to calls sitting in their police cars talking on personal phone calls, taking naps, etc Since I no longer work there I stay out of New Haven. Watch out- if the criminals don’t get you the New Haven cops will
posted by: narcan on December 28, 2017 4:55am
The only assumption I made was that King was NOT being investigated for simply buying lottery tickets but rather for disorderly conduct of running in the street while under the influence. I stand by the safety of that assumption. Far more prone to folly would be to assume that the video shows us the entirety of the incident.
United States Supreme Court case law absolutely applies in Connecticut, regardless of where the case originated. The full decision of the case in question, if you read beyond the wikinotes, does not limit the principle to a specific ID law, so the broad discretion to decide what “hinders” the investigation of an officer (such as the ability to know who a person is) absolutely would be covered.
In sum, no, you may not commit violations of law in Connecticut and then get a pass by refusing to identify yourself.
posted by: tcc036 on December 28, 2017 3:25pm
@ former employee - tell us how you really feel about these “people”. Just curious, what was your job title at NHPD and what was your separation status? You sound like a fired, disgruntled employee.
And stop trying to instill fear of NHPD in people. The New Haven cops wont “get” people…between all the “personal phone calls, taking naps etc”, I doubt they’ll have time 😂😂😂
posted by: former employee on December 28, 2017 8:54pm
I was NOT fired. Many of my co-workers should have been fired for the antics that I witnessed. Not showing up for work, 2 hour lunches, talking on the phone, texting. etc doing anything to get out of doing their work. The bosses were wimps and they were cops and afraid to reprimand their staff in the department that I worked in. If you worked at the Police Dept believe me you would agree The taxpayers wasted a lot of money on the slackers including the cops. I could name names of cops that wasted a lot of time and the disgusting things that went on but, of course, I won’t Some day I’ll write a book about it and go into detail that would shock you, and that is why I QUIT
posted by: former employee on December 28, 2017 9:04pm
By the way TCC036 I have a small amount of experience with tasers and it looks to me as though the cop in the video didn’t know how to even hold a taser He held it sideways and from what I learned tasers are supposed to be held straight ahead Just sayin
posted by: robn on December 30, 2017 1:31pm
The officers tone of voice very quickly escalated to anger and I think that might have been avoided. However, try to put yourself in the officers’ position. 1) The man was observed by one officer acting erratically, as if on PCP, and followed to the convenience store. There’s no mistaken identity if the reporting in this article is correct. And there’s no question the same man committed a crime of public disturbance if the reporting in this article is correct. 2) So before the officers went into the store, a crime has been committed, a perpetrator has been identified, and an arrest is imminent. I have no idea what the Supreme’s have said about this but I trust NARCANs logic that you can’t commit a crime and skate because you refuse to identify yourself. 3) Three officers came in and faced the man and asked for ID. Most normal people would face the officers and present an ID. This man didn’t and continued with his transaction. That’s peculiar behavior and suggests he was still under the influence. People under the influence of PCP can be extremely dangerous. 4) The moment he’s asked for ID he not only continues bantering with the store clerk about a lottery ticket purchase, but he also jams his hand in his pocket. That would make me a bit nervous if I was a cop because he might be reaching for a weapon. 5) About 40 seconds after the man was asked for ID, after officers patiently wait for him to flip through his wallet, he reaches around his back and begins to turn towards the officers concealing his hands. That also would make me a bit nervous if I was a cop because he might be reaching for a weapon.
Bottom line is the officers could have toned down the anger but this guy simultaneously made some very bad moves and is very lucky he didn’t get shot (with a bullet.)
posted by: 1644 on December 30, 2017 8:16pm
Robn: The reporting of this story is entirely hearsay: all the NHI is doing is reporting what others have said happen. There is no first hand reporting here. The accuracy we need to be concerned about is the police officer’s report? Is it accurate? maybe yes, may be no. Eyewitness testimony is notoriously unreliable, and I would guess police reports are as subject to confirmation bias any others. 2. Presuming the report is correct, the officers did not need the subject to “identify” himself to effect an arrest. His identification as a criminal was based on the officer’s observation, not his name, so the officers could have just said, sir, you are under arrest for disorderly conduct and taken him into custody. (It would be different if the officers were responding to a report that by someone that gave the name of the suspect, say, “This guy King is acting crazy in the street. Can you send an officer?”) 3. Throughout, it is unclear if the officers are making a Terry stop or an arrest.
posted by: robn on December 30, 2017 10:09pm
Presenting or not presenting and ID doesn’t matter. What does matter is, after being asked for ID, behavior that could be interpreted by the police as potentially dangerous (like hiding ones hands). Thats why this guy got tased.
posted by: duncanidaho645 on December 31, 2017 1:23pm
I definitely agree that the situation escalated too quickly, but the police had grounds to request identification. One, he is buying a lottery ticket. You have to be at least 18 years old and able to prove it to buy a lottery ticket. And two, he either was recognized as being or fit the description of a man blatantly breaking the law and causing a dangerous situation for himself and others an hour and a half earlier.
I would not want to be wrestling around the ground with some dirtbag, but I am not a police officer. If I was a New Haven police officer I don’t know what I would have done in this situation, but I do know I would be biding my time and applying to every suburb that offered higher pay, a better pension, significantly easier/less dangerous work, and without the independent shining light on my dirty deeds.
posted by: 1644 on December 31, 2017 2:29pm
Robn: Sadly, you are correct, but only because police tactical training and policies have liberal rules of engagement which do not prioritize public safety or public order. The result is unnecessary deaths of non-police, such as the recent killing in of Andrew Finch( in Wichita), of Justine Diamond, and Philando Castile, to name a few, none of whom had committed ANY crime whatsoever.