Community activists are protesting the arrest of a Hartford, Connecticut, teen who police shot with a Taser last week and demanding that the officer be charged instead.
They gathered at Albany Avenue and Main Street to march on Hartford police headquarters Wednesday evening.
“Drop those charges! They tased him!” protesters shouted during the rally.
Community members are urging police to drop the charges against 18-year-old Luis Anglero, who was tased Aug. 19 while police were breaking up an unruly crowd at Albany Avenue and Garden Street. The encounter was captured on surveillance video.
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Anglero's family members allege that the officer used unreasonable force, but police say Anglero was uncooperative and aggressive. The incident is under investigation.
“We believe officers used excessive force. They did not need to tase this teen. This seems to be part of a national narrative as it pertains to police,” said community activist Cornell Lewis.
“We the people demand that charges be brought against Det. Shawn Ware for excessive force,” he added.
Hartford Police Chief James Rovella showed up at the rally to hear protesters' concerns, and authorities said they would respect their right to demonstrate.
“It’s a sensitive issue, understandably, so here at the police department, we understand their right to protect their concerns, and we will provide them assistance and an escort as they march through traffic,” said Hartford police spokesman Deputy Chief Brian Foley.
Anglero was charged with breach of peace and interfering with an officer. He taken to the hospital for treatment and was released in good condition a short time later.
“I'm interested in a fair, complete investigation," Rovella explained. He said a decision on how to handle the incident could still be "some distance away."
The city held a community meeting to address violence just days after the incident, and the Hartford Police Union has planned a news conference for Thursday morning to address the protest.