NAACP calling for Taser to be equipped with cameras - WFSB 3 Connecticut

NAACP calling for Taser to be equipped with cameras

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A civil rights advocacy group called for more regulations after a crash where an Ansonia man was Tasered and died. 

Thomas Lane was involved in a crash on Interstate-95 in West Haven on Monday, according to state police.

When troopers arrived at the scene, they said Lane was stuck in his car with a head injury. As they tried to help him, they said he became combative and hurt a first responder.

"He became combative and broke the hand of a West Haven Fire Department lieutenant. Lane then used a shard of glass to harm himself inside the vehicle. Law enforcement used a Taser in order to safely remove him from the vehicle to provide him medical care and to stop him from causing further harm toward himself and first responders," Connecticut State Police said in a statement on Friday. 

A state trooper and West Haven police officer used their Tasers, but only one taser was working. 

"Taser use is one step above deadly force and shouldn't be used unless absolutely necessary," Darnell Crosland, Attorney

Lane was taken to the hospital where he later died there.

The medical examiner will be conducting an autopsy to determine his cause of death.

"He would do anything for any of us," Thomas' son Brandon Lane said.

Thomas Lane was father of three children. Now, his son Brandon Lane wants to know what happened to his father. 

"All he lived for was his kids and his family and his friends. You know, he got up and went to work every day," Brandon Lane said. 

The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People's New Haven branch said Thomas Lane is the 18th person since 2005 to die after being shocked by police in Connecticut. It said that number points to a greater need for transparency and oversight regarding Taser use in the state.

The NAACP addressed that during a noon news conference Friday at its branch in New Haven.

A Taser reform bill went into effect in Connecticut last year.

However, the organization said it wants all Tasers to be equipped with cameras that will automatically record audio and video of all the incidents during which they're used. It cost about $500 per Taser. 

"Twelve have been Black and Latinos that's 2/3 of deaths in the state of Connecticut," Scott X. Esdaile with NAACP said. 

Any time an officer uses a taser, they have to fill out a four-page report on what happened and what part of the body the Taser was used. NAACP also wants the use-of-force reports, which became mandatory last year, to be available to the public immediately after fatal incidents.

Meanwhile for the oldest son of Lane, he said he just wants answers.  

"Things could have turned out completely different. He still could still alive today," Brandon Lane said.  

Eyewitness News Called the medical examiner's office, who said they have that information for six to eight weeks. 

Meanwhile,  Eyewitness News looked into Thomas Lane's background and found arrests between 1997 and 2004 for drug sale, breach of peace and failure to appear.

State police said they do train their officers on the most appropriate times to use a taser and that does include people who may need medical attention. 

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