July 16, 2010

Community Reacts to Taser-Killing of Anibal Rosario-Rodriguez

Soulclap to New Britain Herald for providing an update on the taser-related death of Anibal Rosario-Rodriguez.

There are three points of view emerging in the community:

The Family - The family is very sad. A small memorial of photos, candles and cardboard signs sits on the street where Rosario-Rodriguez, 61, was electrocuted by a taser gun used by unidentified police officers.

Local corner stores in the area have collection jars to help the family with the cost of funeral arrangements as many of Rosario-Rodriguez family live and shop in the area. Many of the jars read “Anibal Rosario-Rodriguez … Unnecessary death.

The Powers-That-Be - The state Office of the Chief Medical Examiner said that Rosario-Rodriguez died from a lacerated spleen. The implication is that he would have died even if he didn't receive 50,000 volts of electricity from the police officer's taser gun.

Rosario-Rodriguez’s spleen injury could have been a result of a degenerative disease or trauma like a fall or stab wound, but not the stun gun. Police said he fell when he was struggling with officers.

The Community - Neighbors said Rosario-Rodriguez was for the most part a nice guy. However, many in the community said the incident brings to light concerns of a seemingly abusive approach by police.

I don’t think the cops take the time to assess the situations and handle people in a good manner,” said Yolimar Gonzalez, who lives and works in the area. “There are people who sell drugs around here and you don’t see cops arresting them as often as they should. But if we’re sitting on our porch, they constantly start asking questions and telling us to go inside. It’s the manner that they talk to you — with disrespect. Like we’re dirt and we’re all here selling drugs ... but they target the wrong people.”
She feels that many are disappointed with how police handled Rosario-Rodriguez.

Man, he was 61 years old, who had trouble walking. Where was he going to run to that the police had to Taser him?” said Willy Lockhart, a friend of Rosario-Rodriguez. “Everybody knows that wasn’t necessary. You mean to tell me the police couldn’t have grabbed him? The police shouldn’t have done him like that.”
Carlos Ortiz,of New Britain laughed and shook his head when asked about how police are viewed.

Police brutality and abuse of authority is an everyday thing,” Ortiz said. “They used to pull you to the side, talk to you and find out what’s what. Now they ‘Taser’ you for any little thing.”
Gary Mora, also works in the area and said he sees police walking the beat daily and some are invested in getting to know the neighborhood. He acknowledges there are drugs.

This is not the first time someone has been ‘Tasered.’ I think police don’t really see us with any worth. A lot people live here, they work and they want what police want — peace, no crime. That man who was ‘Tasered,’ they could have used the spray.”
Well, Villagers ... what say u?

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