Connecticut Cops Brutally Beat Up a Suspect In Local Park


Three Connecticut cops were put on administrative leave after an incriminating video of them beating up a suspect was released online by an anonymous user. Veterans of the Bridgeport Police Department – Elson Morales, Joseph Lawlor and Clive Higgins were caught on tape kicking and stomping on a man previously incapacitated with a stun gun.

A shaky video that goes in and out of focus captures the moment the suspect is shot with the stun gun and knocked to the ground paralyzed. One of the officers exclaims “Nice shot!” and walks over to the fallen man, kicking him as the other cop is standing by.

He quickly joins in and they go on kicking and stomping on the helpless suspect. Sirens can be heard in the background as another patrol car is arriving to the scene, and the third officer uses the chance to join his coworkers and land a couple of kicks himself just before the backup arrives.

There were a couple of witnesses observing the brutal beating, but that didn’t keep the cops from acting the way they did. President of the Greater Bridgeport branch of the NAACP, Carolyn Vermont, described the cops’ behavior as “totally unacceptable”.

“No person should be treated as an animal, no matter what they are charged with”, she said.

Police Chief Joseph Gaudett Jr. refused to reveal the name of the suspect or the charges against him, but it was confirmed that he is currently serving prison time.

The victim didn’t file a charge against the three cops but Chief Gaudett assures the public they’re currently on leave and under investigation.

Bridgeport Police Shown In Video Are Subjects Of Separate Brutality Complaint

— Two of the three cops shown apparently beating a man in a video at Beardsley Park are the subject of a pending police brutality complaint filed by a disabled man.

On May 23, 2011, three days after the Beardsley Park beating reportedly took place, Officer Christina Arroyo stopped Ramon Sierra for questioning, Sierra claims in a letter that he wrote to Chief Joseph Gaudett Jr. seeking an investigation.

John G. Roberts, Jr. Lawyers Civil Rights Justice and Rights Freedom of Information Act YouTube Another officer, Elson Morales — who is one of the officers identified in the Beardsley Park videotape — soon arrived at the scene at the corner of Boston and Noble avenues.

Sierra said that, without warning, Morales "put his hands on me, and I asked him what he was doing."

"The next thing I knew, Officer Morales and an officer later identified as Officer (Joseph) Lawlor both threw me violently to the ground, and on the way down, the left side of my face struck one of the police cars on the scene, causing a bad laceration," the complaint states.

Lawlor is also identified in the Beardsley Park videotape.

Sierra said that one of the officers then told him to put his hands behind his back, but because he has limited use of his right arm, he was unable to do so. Sierra said that he is disabled and is partially paralyzed on the left side as well as having limited mobility on his right.

"I told the officers this, but they continued to assault me violently, finally handcuffing my hands in front of my body,'' Sierra wrote in his letter to Gaudett.

Sierra was transported to the hospital and later charged with interfering with a cop and assaulting a public safety officer. His criminal case is pending at Superior Court in Bridgeport.

Sierra filed a civilian complaint in October 2011. That complaint is pending. Sierra has been interviewed twice by the department's internal affairs office, including once with his attorney, Sally Roberts of New Britain.

Bridgeport police spokesman William Kaempffer confirmed Tuesday night that an internal affairs investigation is pending and said the department would not comment.

Morales and Lawlor are two of the officers seen in the video showing police apparently stomping on a man in Beardsley Park, which surfaced on YouTube a few weeks ago. It was taken by an unknown person in the park on May 20, 2011, according to Robert M. Berke, the Bridgeport lawyer representing Orlando Lopez, 27, who says that he's the man the officers assaulted.

In a federal lawsuit against the officers dated Sunday, Lopez charged that the "physical assault by the defendants" resulted in him sustaining severe pain, a laceration of his lip requiring several stitches resulting in a scar, bruises on his body and face, and a fracture to his hand.

The third officer in the park video is Clive Higgins. All three men are on desk duty pending an investigation of that incident, police said.

Sierra's complaint also lists Officer Paul Scillia, who was recently disciplined by Gaudett and removed from the department's emergency services unit for refusing to take a drug test, and Arroyo, police said.

Both Lawlor and Arroyo are defendants in a pending federal police brutality case filed against the police department by William Feliciano. That lawsuit alleges that following a car chase in December 2010, several Bridgeport cops beat him while he was on the ground, breaking his jaw in three places.

The lawsuit names seven officers, including Lawlor and Arroyo, but does not specify who participated in the alleged assault.

Roberts, Sierra's attorney, has filed a Freedom of Information Act complaint against the police department, claiming that it has stalled the investigation into Sierra's complaint. In filing the complaint, Roberts included Sierra's initial letter seeking the investigation as well as correspondence with police and city attorneys.

"Mr. Sierra is tired of the games the department is playing in blatantly stalling on this matter, and requests that this information be provided ASAP,'' Roberts wrote in a Dec. 9, 2012, letter to Sgt. Tjuana Bradley-Webb, the internal affairs officer assigned Sierra's complaint.

Five days later, Roberts filed the freedom of information complaint, alleging that the department was "blatantly stalling."

"The department is well aware of Mr. Sierra's pending criminal matter and naturally, will do everything possible, in coordination with the prosecutor, to prevent Mr. Sierra from gaining access to the [internal affairs] case," Roberts wrote.

The FOI Commission has not yet set a date for a hearing on the matter. Roberts could not be reached for comment Tuesday.

Following the release of the Beardsley Park video, Gaudett ordered an internal investigation of the incident and also referred the matter to the state's attorney's office for review.


Police Brutality Caught on Camera: Lawyer


Orlando Lopez has filed a $1 million lawsuit against three Bridgeport officers.

A Bridgeport man has filed a lawsuit claiming police brutality against three Bridgeport cops. The suit was filed Monday, days after a video surfaced on YouTube of an arrest of Orlando Lopez. The video shows the officers standing above Lopez and kicking him as he is lying on the ground. Officers used a stun gun on Lopez during the arrest in Beardsley Park on May 20, 2011. Lopez and his family say the officers had every right to used excessive force by kicking and stomping on Lopez after he had been subdued.

The lawsuit claims officers Elson Morales, Joseph Lawlor and Clive Higgins deprived Lopez of his right to be free from excessive force and his right to due process. Lopez is seeking $1 million in the lawsuit.

"He was embarrassed and scared, his word against police," said Attorney Robert Berke, about the 20-month delay in filing the lawsuit on behalf of Lopez. "Having this tape changes the ballgame."

The three officers have been assigned to desk duty while the department investigates the incident.

Bridgeport swears in new officers following police brutality allegations

BRIDGEPORT, Conn. (WTNH) -- Bridgeport is getting some new cops on the heels of police brutality allegations. 28 new officers are graduating from the academy just one week after a YouTube video surfaced showing officers kicking a hand-cuffed suspect.

After two alleged incidents of brutality, the bridgeport police department is trying rebuild its reputation and the newly sworn-in officers hope they can help.

28 graduates of the Bridgeport Police academy saluted, shook hands and took the oath. Some will work in neighboring communities and 19 will serve in the state's largest city.

"This is my home town and I'm glad to be working for my home town," said Officer Juan Esquilin.

Bridgeport swears in these new cops the same week the department received two complaints of police brutality.

The first complain came from Olando Lopez-Soto. In a video taken more than a year ago, Lopez-Soto was handcuffed as he was kicked and stomped on by Bridgeport Police. Those Officers are now on administrative duty.

"There's no excuse for that. I mean, the guy was handcuffed. I don't know the circumstances, I don't know what happened before or whatever but I do pray for these officers," said Officer. Esquilin.

The second complaint of excessive force comes from a family of five, charged with breach of peace and interfering with an officer. They say officers harassed them and tazed the father of the family, sending him to the hospital.

The message today was to respect residents of the communities they serve.

"Remember, kindness is not a sign of weakness," said Chief Gaudett. "How you act reflects on all of us. Make us proud."

"Get to know you're community because you never know when you're going to need their help," said Officer Esquilin