A passerby’s video showing the brutal beating of a man by Bridgeport police attracted 80,000 viewers on YouTube and was the basis for the victim’s filing a lawsuit against the alleged malicious attack.
Although the assault occurred in May 2011, the video only recently came to light and instigated the lawsuit.
Representatives of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) demanded that the three police officers involved in the attack be arrested and fired.
The Connecticut head of the NAACP, Scot X Esdaile, was quoted as telling the Jan. 29, 2013, Connecticut Post, “We are calling the FBI, the state police and the Bridgeport police to effectuate this arrest immediately.”
“These three men should be treated like common thugs, because that’s what they are — thugs,” Esdaile said. The NAACP leader said he watched the video of the incident and saw “a black man, a white man, and a Hispanic man,” continue to step on and kick the man while he was on the ground.
The alleged victim, Orlando Lopez-Soto, was felled by a stun gun as he fled on foot from police following an extended car chase through the city. During the chase, Lopez-Soto, the Connecticut Post wrote, nearly struck several cars and blew out two tires. Police who looked through Lopez-Soto’s vehicle said they discovered a loaded hand gun on the floor of the van in addition to plastic bags which they suspected contained drugs.
The video, taken May 20, 2011 shows two police officers stomping on and kicking the 27-year-old accused man. They are soon joined by a third police officer, the video shows, who also began to kick and stomp on Lopez-Soto.
The two officers, who are first shown assaulting Lopez-Soto, are Joseph Lawlor and Elson Morales. The officer who joined in the attack is Clive Higgins.
The police department placed all three on paid administrative duty while an investigation is being conducted. All of the officers have been on the force for 10 years.
The police report said Lopez-Soto was taken to the hospital because of the effects of the stun gun. The report made no mention of effects from the police beating.
The Connecticut Post quoted Bridgeport Mayor Bill Finch saying that when he “became aware of the contents of the video, ‘I directed the chief (Joseph Gaudett) to take immediate and appropriate action, and ordered an investigation by the Officer of Internal Affairs.'”
The person who had taken the video was quoted as saying he didn’t come forward earlier because he was afraid the police would beat him too. Eventually he disclosed the existence of the tape because he felt it was the right thing to do.
The personal injury lawyers of Berkowitz and Hanna LLC help individuals in the state of Connecticut affected by serious personal injuries. To speak with an attorney about a possible case, contact our firm today.
Note: We do not represent this victim. The information was gathered from the Connecticut Post.