Man dies after New Britain standoff - WFSB 3 Connecticut

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Man dies after New Britain standoff

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A man responsible for a standoff in New Britain and fighting with the officers on Monday evening has died, Connecticut State Police said.

New Britain police were called to an apartment at 141 Broad Street just before 7 p.m. to respond to reports of a disruptive man on the third floor.

For hours the man was seen sticking his head out the window, tossing items from inside the apartment and screaming at police.

"I looked up the window and he was leaning out the window yelling profanities that somebody was messing with his stuff or something," said neighbor Todd Gregory.

Then, just before 11:30 p.m., with Channel 3 Eyewitness News cameras rolling and broadcast on live TV, police stormed the apartment and a struggle ensued. One officer was forced to use his department-issued Taser to gain control of the situation.

As officers were bringing him down from the apartment, police said the suspect started having trouble breathing.

"(He) went into what appeared to be, encountered a medical situation, possible cardiac arrest," said Lt. Paul Vance with Connecticut State Police.

He was brought to a local hospital and died a few hours later.

Police are not releasing the man's name, but family members told Eyewitness News that his name is Seth.

Family members told Eyewitness News what those police officers did was unreal, and Seth did not deserve what happened. They said they could have been at the scene within minutes to talk to him, but found out what was happening through the news.

Officials with the American Civil Liberties Union of Connecticut said that 13 people have died after being Tasered by police since 2005, and four in New Britain.

"It has become clear that Tasers can kill, particularly by causing heart attacks," said Staff Attorney for ACLU, David McGuire, in a statement. "Every death is a reminder that the state of Connecticut has not yet adopted clear and reasonable regulations for Taser use, and we urge the legislature again to address this crucial issue."

McGuire said there is not "necessarily an alternative to Tasers," but suggested mandated training and reporting.

According to the New Britain Police Department's policy, officers there get trained on a yearly basis, and can use a Taser when a suspect does not comply, and shows aggression.

They're required to notify a supervisor after a Taser is used, and complete an incident report, the policy said. That includes downloading all information stored in the Taser, and allowing the chief to review all incidents every year.

Neighbors said they don't know what may have gone wrong, but they said it was a scary scene.

"She said it didn't sound like him, it sounded like a completely different person," said Oneida Pujols-Gonzalez of New Britain.

Neighbors said Seth had some rough times lately, and they believe he had stopped taking his medication.

"I hope he's in a better place," said Carmine LaPosta of New Britain.

Connecticut State Police are now investigating the incident and will look into the use of force by officers at the request of New Britain police.

The officer involved, whose name was not released, is on administrative assignment during that investigation.

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