Police brutality has long been a topic of controversy. However, over the past six months, there’s been a rise in the number of cases involving innocent victims being brutally attacked by law enforcers. In most cases, its usually the victim’s word against the officers. But, since the most recent attacks have been caught on camera, officers are being held responsible for their careless actions. Three officers with the Bridgeport Police Department in Connecticut are the latest to be reprimanded for a brutal beating.
According to the NH Register, the horrific attack actually occurred back in 2011. However, the shocking footage didn’t surface until last year when it was uploaded on YouTube back in January of 2013. Once the video began circulating on a number of social media platforms, it caught the attention of authorities.
Now, charges have just recently been brought against one of the three officers involved. On Friday, August 8, officer Clive Higgins was indicted by a grand jury on charges of “violating a man’s civil rights by using unreasonable force during an arrest.” The 48-year-old Bridgeport police officer reportedly pleaded guilty to the charges.
The footage shows two of the officers brutally stomping and kicking a man identified as Orlando Lopez-Soto. He had reportedly been shot with a stun gun following a car chase that ended at Beardsley Park. Lopez-Soto can be seen lying face down and motionless on the ground. Although he was no longer a threat to the officers, the beating continued. Then, things got even worse when Higgins arrived on the scene. When he approached Lopez-Soto, he immediately began kicking him in the head and neck.
An official joint statement was released by Bridgeport Mayor Bill Finch and Police Chief Joseph Gaudett. Both indicated that the incident would be taken “very seriously” and that the officers would be held accountable for their actions and violation of public trust.
“The use of force is an issue that both the city and the police department take very seriously,” Finch and Joseph agreed. “We expect a lot from our officers and the overwhelming majority of our officers do their job extraordinarily well. But when they violate the public trust, they need to be held accountable.”
Lopez-Soto is currently serving a five-year prison sentence for drug and gun charges he pled guilty to back in 2012. Higgins has been placed on unpaid suspension and was released on a $50,000 bond. If found guilty of the charges, he faces a maximum of 10 years in prison.
[Image via Bing]