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Activists meet with Carlsbad PD over controversial Taser incident

Posted at 4:44 PM, Jul 23, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-23 23:00:01-04

CARLSBAD, Calif. (KGTV) - On Thursday, police reform activists gathered outside the Carlsbad Police Department to publicly discuss their recent meeting with police over last month's controversial arrest and Taser incident with Marcel Cox-Harshaw, an African American man.

"We're satisfied with the fact that they met us but we're not overall satisfied until we see results," said Yusef Miller with the North County Civil Liberties Coalition.

Sheila Kenny with Indivisible49 told reporters, "Citizens of North County want to express their concerns about the possibility of future incidents reoccurring if the police department does not make some changes."

RELATED: Activists to demand changes within Carlsbad Police Department after controversial arrest

Robert Jenkins with the North County NAACP added, "We feel in this time of heightened police brutality and racial injustices among people of color, specifically African American men, that racial bias training should be more frequent."

Witness video shows officers using a Taser on Harshaw and pressing his head into the pavement. Police body cam video shows officers meeting medics who were called out to a report of a man face down on the sidewalk.

Police described him as refusing their commands and being combative, so they say that they used a Taser to subdue him before sending him to the hospital.

RELATED: Carlsbad police release body camera footage amid public concerns over officer misconduct

Activists argued that police should have done more to de-escalate the encounter.

“They invited us to help look at their de-escalation policies and engagement policies to see if there are places where we can tweak,” said Miller.

Activists said they're also working with the department to create public forums on police conduct and form a Citizens Review Board.

After Harshaw's arrest, police reported that a number of factors were considered by officers to use force, including the threat that they said Harshaw had posed to medics.

Carlsbad Police Department sent ABC 10News the following statement on Thursday:

"We would like to thank Mr. Miller of the North County Civil Liberties Coalition for reaching out and taking the time to meet with us. As always, we welcome the opportunity to meet with the community to discuss issues of importance. We understand that a relationship of confidence and trust with the public is essential to effective community policing. We will continue to work to ensure Carlsbad is a safe place for all and we will strive to ensure our policies support our mission to protect and serve the community with integrity and professionalism."