PD: Man who assaulted mother was found hiding inside church - WFSB 3 Connecticut

PD: Man who assaulted mother was found hiding inside church

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Ryan Champlin (East Haven Police) Ryan Champlin (East Haven Police)

Police say he viciously attacked his own mother and then tried taking sanctuary in a church.

Now an East Haven man is under arrest, but a local pastor feels officers should have never entered her church to look for him.

The East Haven Police Department says it was well within the officers’ rights to enter the church.

They say staffers inside even helped them look for Ryan Champlin, who was wanted for a violent assault and needed to be taken into custody.

Police also said Champlin may have been a danger to children at a daycare facility inside the church.

Body camera shows the moment East Haven officers located Champlin hiding inside an office of the Old Stone Church on Main Street.

Police got a tip the 34-year-old was dropped off at the church after they say he assaulted his mother Tuesday, allegedly kicking in a bedroom door, hitting her in the head with a cordless phone a number of times, and interfering with her 9-1-1 call.

While Champlin was arrested without incident, once outside, the church's pastor wasn't happy they were there putting her car in front of their cruisers.

"I’m the pastor, you can talk to him. He's going back in that church. You do not have the authority to come into a church and arrest anybody,” the pastor said, according to the body cam video.

On Wednesday, Champlin faced a judge for the first time.

On the body camera video, the pastor argued officers should have waited for her to arrive at the church.

"A church is a safe place a sanctuary, that is what this man had done and he was being assisted by me, to try and get him some help for his family and you have violated his rights and that's not going to sit well,” the pastor said.

When Channel 3 stopped by the church on Wednesday and asked over the intercom to see the reverend, there was no response. A second time, they didn't even answer.

The church's connection to the town goes back to the 1700s and in fact, the church is on the police department's patch.

But Lt. Joseph Murgo says this arrest is not the same as an undocumented immigrant seeking sanctuary in a church.

"The whole immigration, that issue that's really a hot button topic in America, they don't go inside these places, because they choose not to. This is a totally different situation, this was a serious violent felony assault. We had a duty to the victim to make that arrest,” Murgo said.

Champlin was issued a protective order. He was charged with second-degree assault, interfering with an emergency call, disorderly conduct, and third-degree criminal mischief.

Now police say, officers showed great discretion saying if they wanted to, they could have charged the pastor with interfering with an arrest. 

To see the full body cam video, click here.

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