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Tuesday, November 01, 2011

ACLU responds to I-Team's Taser investigation

October 28, 2011
Robyn Tyndall, wcpo.com i-team

CINCINNATI - The A.C.L.U. is weighing in on the delays in the investigation into the death of U.C. Upward Bound student Everette Howard.

Howard died nearly three months ago shortly after he was tased by a U.C. police officer.

Over the last two weeks the I-Team has revealed concerns over the safety of the weapons and controversy surrounding the testing of those weapons.

We spoke with the A.C.L.U.'s general counsel Scott Greenwood.

He says it's unacceptable that the Taser used on Everette Howard has not been tested, eleven weeks after Howard died. "Within a three month period after there is a Taser proximate death we should have the toxicology on the deceased person, we should have a whole bunch of reports on the use of force. There should be significant reporting by the law enforcement agency that was involved. There should have been, depending on the jurisdiction, a criminal investigation, and the weapon itself should have been thoroughly tested both independently and by the manufacturer...all of that is possible within that timeframe."

Yet, nearly three months later, we still don't have any results and the investigation is being held up as Ohio's Bureau of Criminal Investigations, or B.C.I., figures out where to send that Taser.

Ohio Attorney General Mike Dewine, who oversees B.C.I. told the I-Team the weapon will be sent to Canada for testing, but it's hung up in customs issues.

Greenwood, who is also a master trainer for Taser International and is considered a "use of force expert", says he believes there are plenty of alternatives to shipping the weapon to Canada. "There are about 10 or 12 in the United States that have the technical ability to test the weapons according to the manufacturers standards and they should have done that by now."

Greenwood also tells the I-Team you never want to store a Taser for an extended period of time so that none of the weapon's data is lost or damaged.

We've been asking Hamilton County Prosecutor Joe Deters to respond to these concerns. His office e-mailed us saying they have told B.C.I. "they want their report ASAP".

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