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News Link • Police State

Unarmed 54-Year-Old Bloodied In Raid

• www.newhavenindependent.org

Torres (pictured), who’s 54, said state cops broke down the door of his first-floor Winthrop Avenue apartment Wednesday afternoon, punched him in the face, stomped on his head, and then laughed at him as they tossed his apartment looking for drugs.

Police said he tried to jump out the window, then resisted their efforts to detain and handcuff him.

They had the wrong guy, said Torres. The police found nothing in his apartment and released him to go to the hospital, where he said he was told he has a fractured arm, he said.

It’s the second recent incident in which an unarmed New Havener has accused a state drug cop of brutality. (Click here to read about the previous one.)

Lt. J. Paul Vance, spokesman for the state police, said he had no record of state police action anywhere in New Haven on Wednesday. That doesn’t mean that a search warrant wasn’t executed, he said. He’d have a record if an arrest were made, he said.

“That sounds a little suspect right off the bat,” Vance said when told of Torres’ complaints. “We don’t beat people up as a regular course of business.”

Lt. Jeff Hoffman, who oversees the city’s Tactical Narcotics Unit, confirmed that the Statewide Narcotics Task Force executed a warrant at 280 Winthrop Ave. Wednesday afternoon. Two New Haven cops are assigned to that task force and one of them may have taken part in the warrant execution, Hoffman said.

“I know that the task force had a lawful search and seizure warrant for that apartment,” Hoffman said. He said he wasn’t present at the police action. Cops have to convince a judge that they have evidence that drugs are being sold at a location in order to obtain a warrant.

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