Englewood police defend use of taser on man who allegedly threw punch

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Kemberly Richardson reports on the controversy over the tasing of a suspect in Englewood.

Police in Englewood, New Jersey are defending the tasing of a man in a chaotic scene on the street.

They say the man who was tased threw a punch at an officer.

But the two men arrested in the incident tell a different story.

"I see them jumping on my son, choking them," said the suspect's mother Roneicka Hooks, talking about a group of Englewood police officers trying to arrest her son Varian.

Cell phone video captured the tense moments Sunday night.

"Then I'm hearing my son losing his voice, You've got like 6 officers on him, there was no need for all of that," said Hooks.

But police maintain their actions were justified, including what happened moments later.

Police say that when Jason Eaves resisted, they tased the 26-year-old. Not once but twice, Jason said.

He's now walking with a cane, and did not want to go on camera.

Varian also declined, saying that police choked him so hard, at one point he passed out.

The use of tasers or stun guns is a recent change in New Jersey.

Previously, if an officer thought a suspect was likely to cause death or serious bodily injury to themselves or others, that officer could use the weapon.

Now it's if a person is actively resisting arrest and poses a "substantial" risk of causing bodily injury.

Not caught on camera, police say, is Jason throwing a punch at an officer, something he says simply is not true.

"You see Mr. Eaves on the ground, I don't know that there is a scenario that a lot of New Jerseyans think would be appropriate when a suspect is on the ground already and you see the deployment of a taser in that way," said Ari Rosmarin of the ACLU.

This all started, police say, after they spotted drug dealing there. Roneicka denies that and says police should have instead issued a warning.

"Let you all know, if I come back again, if I smell some marijuana, you're under arrest. They didn't say anything to my son, he's under arrest, they just dove on him," she said.
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