April 1, 2013
Readers told us in the comment section last week that a story about New London police officers punching and kicking a suspect is not news. Let me explain how the story came about.
Somebody I know told me I should check out a police report in court. That happens all the time. Some tips are good and some are meant to be filed away, perhaps for future reference. I looked at the report on Hector Maldonado’s arrest and noted that one officer said he had punched Maldonado twice in the eye area and that his sergeant had kicked Maldonado in the same area as Maldonado resisted arrest. In almost two decades of writing about police and courts, I have never seen something like that in a police report. I wondered what Maldonado looked like after the incident, so I requested his inmate photo from the Department of Correction. The picture showed that on the day after the arrest, one of his eyes was black and swollen shut and he had a bruise his forehead.
I asked some questions of officials and learned that Maldonado had a long history of domestic violence. I talked to people in law enforcement on background who said that hitting somebody in the face is never recommended and that the police have enough tools, such as tasers, that they should be able to avoid hand or foot contact with the face in most situations. Now I don’t know exactly what happened at that scene, but the report did indicate the suspect, who was on the ground, kept trying to get up.
Our readers justified the officers’ actions by saying Maldonado was a batterer and that his victim surely has suffered more in the past than he did at that scene. As a reporter, I couldn’t take that position. I thought the incident should be made public, whether the suspect had a clean record or a long rap sheet. I simply put the facts out there and let the debate begin.
February 22, 2013
In the space of just a couple of days this week, I was called a "vulture" in the course of doing my job, and journalists covering the Newton shooting were referred to as "jackals" during a hearing at the state capitol.
February 11, 2013
When a journalist leaves the trenches and goes to work in public relations, we who remain on the beat often joke that the person has "gone over to the dark side."
Brian Garnett, the...
October 8, 2012
Granted, finding a job is tough these days, and holding one down is never easy.
There’s the whole repetition thing. You have to show up day in, day out, week in, week out, if you want to collect...
September 14, 2012
Yesterday, he was Judge Robert L. Holzberg, mediating a $1.1 million settlement in the lawsuit of a New London woman who sued the Catholic Diocese of Norwich.
August 6, 2012
Connecticut’s jury selection process is unique, since attorneys are allowed to interview each prospective juror individually. There are a lot more interesting things to watch in court, but sometimes voir dire, as it’s called,...
July 18, 2012
Larry Johnson's sexual assault case was resolved in 1998, but not soon forgotten in New London Superior Court.
June 7, 2012
Attorney Nicholas D’Amato’s potential defense for a man accused of attempting to rob an elderly woman at the casino is unique. He says his client, Winston Riley, may have been sleepwalking when he tried to snatch the...