Hartford man dies after stun gun deployment, sedation - WFSB 3 Connecticut

Hartford man dies after stun gun deployment, sedation

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Hartford man dies after stun gun deployment, sedation (WFSB) Hartford man dies after stun gun deployment, sedation (WFSB)

A Hartford family is grieving after a 26-year-old loved one died soon after a confrontation with police on Friday night.

It began as police responded to a home on Kelsey Street.

Connecticut State Police are now investigating the death of 26-year-old Matthew Russo.

Mental health workers called police to the Kelsey Street home on Friday night at about 8:30 p.m.

Sources said Russo has a history of violent behavior, and during the response police said Russo became combative with emergency medical technicians, police officers and crisis team personnel.

This led a Hartford police officer to deploy an assigned stun gun, using a less painful use of force called “drive stun.” This is a setting where probes are not fired.

Police said the stun gun was deployed but didn't work so EMS personnel administered a sedative to Russo. He then began to experience difficulty breathing.

EMT's on scene began to immediately perform medical aid and Russo was transported to Hartford Hospital where he later died.

Investigators said at least two responding officers were injured when Russo became combative.

State Police Western District Major Crimes responded to the scene and have assumed the investigation.

In additional, the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner also responded and will conduct an autopsy on Russo to determine his manner of death.

Officials from the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) said they have questions about what happened before Russo's death.

"How long was it that led up the 'tasing,' what was he doing, was he armed, was he really endangering himself or someone else," said David McGuire, Legislative Policy director for the ACLU.

He said few facts have been released by troopers and he isn't judging the response.

"Hartford is a pretty good department in our mind, they have these crisis intervention teams which were out to deal with Mr. Russo which many departments don't and we think that's the best practice," McGuire said.

Aside from that and recent law changes to enhance policies and reporting related to stun guns and similar weapons, the ACLU said taser cameras are needed.

McGuire said a taser camera is different than a body camera, in that it would begin recording as soon as it is taken from its holster or whatever storage unit they have on them.

According to the ACLU, police are required by a new state law to make a public report detailing the use of the stun gun.

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