More allegations surface against Bridgeport officers in YouTube video
By WFSB Staff
BRIDGEPORT, CT (WFSB) -
Just days after a video surfaced on YouTube showing what appears to be three Bridgeport officers kicking and stomping a man in Beardsley Park in May 2011, more allegations of brutality are surfacing.
Eyewitness News has learned two of the three officers seen in this video are also the named in a different brutality case three days later.
Three officers - Elson Morales, Joseph Lawlor and Clive Higgins - have all been placed on paid leave after a YouTube video allegedly captured them using a stun gun and then kicking Orlando Soto, 27.
Attorney Robert Berke said Soto was initially stopped for a traffic violation, but got out of his car and ran.
Berke said after the beating, his client needed six stitches on his face.
The Bridgeport police chief said an internal investigation has been ordered and if violations are found, they will "take action."
Soto and the family said they are suing the three officers for $1 million.
Morales and Lawlor are named in a citizen's complaint, in which it asked the police chief to investigate an incident on May 2011.
Ramon Sierra, who is disabled and suffers from seizures, claims the officers started questioning him on the street as to his recent whereabouts. Then, they threw him on the ground and used excessive force.
Eyewitness News has also learned that there is a pending federal lawsuit, which was filed against six Bridgeport patrol officers and a sergeant including Lawlor.
In the lawsuit, William Feliciano of Bridgeport claims he was roughed up after he led police on a chase in December 2010.
"One or both of the officers told me to put my hand behind my back, but my right arm is partially paralyzed and I cannot put it behind me," the lawsuit stated. "I told the officers this, but they continued to assault me violently."
In the lawsuit, attorneys for Feliciano said officers "for no reason whatsoever, repeatedly kicked, punched, beat and struck the plaintiff about the head, face, neck, ribs, arms, legs and other parts of his body."
As a result of the incident, attorneys for Feliciano said his jaw was shattered in several places and he has had to undergo surgery three times for the injury.
In the lawsuit, which seeks $3.5 million in damages, attorneys for Feliciano said their client suffered extreme pain and fear, which lead to "extreme mental and emotional distress and anguish."
The Bridgeport Police Department did not have any no additional comments about the lawsuit.
"Ask the mayor, the police chief, and police commissioner to get rid of these people immediately," said Connecticut NAACP President Scot Esdaile at a press conference Monday. "We want them to get rid of them swiftly and decisively."
Copyright 2013 WFSB (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.
Friday, July 18 2014 3:26 PM EDT2014-07-18 19:26:33 GMT
It's been an extremely difficult day for family and friends as well as officers. So many people were crying, upset as the body of 5-year-old Janaya Thompson was removed from an abandoned trailer.More >
It's been an extremely difficult day for family and friends as well as officers. So many people were crying, upset as the body of 5-year-old Janaya Thompson was removed from an abandoned trailer. Coroner Gary Hargrove said Janaya's body was found in a bathroom.More >