Three Connecticut police officers have been put on administrative leave after they were caught on video brutally beating a suspect in a local park.
Elson Morales, Joseph Lawlor and Clive Higgins, all 10-year veterans of the Bridgeport Police Department, are shown on the tape kicking and stomping on a man they had already subdued with a stun gun.
They will remain on paid administrative leave while the May 2011 encounter is investigated.
The sobering footage was uploaded on YouTube on January 18 by an anonymous user. It is unclear who filmed it.
In the video, which goes in and out of focus, the pop and sizzle of the electric stun gun can be heard before a man shouts “nice shot” from off camera as the suspect falls to the ground.
Within seconds, two officers stand over the motionless man and begin kicking and stomping on him as he writhes around on the grass. A third officer drives up in a police cruiser with the sirens blaring and attacks him.
At one point a witness yells at the officers: “You got him, cut the [expletive].”
Carolyn Vermont, president of the Greater Bridgeport branch of the NAACP, slammed the police response, describing it to the Connecticut Post as “horrible, totally unacceptable”.
“No person should be treated as an animal, no matter what they are charged with,” she said.
Police Chief Joseph Gaudett Jr. said he learned about the video last week and promptly ordered the city’s Office of Internal Affairs to investigate the beating. He also notified the Bridgeport State’s Attorney.
“I’m concerned by what I saw and ordered the Office of Internal Affairs to conduct an immediate, thorough and timely investigation,” Joseph Gaudett Jr. told The Post.
“If violations are found, we will take action. Our officers are held to high standards and rightfully so, and we intend to maintain these standards.”
Joseph Gaudett Jr. refused to release the name of the man being kicked and stomped by the officers in the video and what charges were lodged against him.
According to The Post, police sources said the man was being pursued by officers following reports that he had a gun.
When the officers finally subdued him, no gun was found, but the man was wearing a holster, the source said.
The man was charged in the incident and did not file a complaint against the police officers.
The sources told The Post that the man, who wasn’t seriously injured in the beating, is now serving prison time on unrelated charges.