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City Cop Charged With Excessive Force For Beardsley Park Stomping, Suspended Without Pay

August 8th, 2014 · 7 Comments · Law Enforcement, News and Events

The stomping of a city man in Beardsley Park in 2011 has led to the federal indictment of  city police officer Clive Higgins on civil rights violations. The two other officers involved in the kicking of a suspect have entered guilty pleas in the matter. The officer was placed on unpaid suspension, according to city spokesman Bill Kaempffer. Higgins entered a not guilty plea in court. News release from U.S. Attorney’s Office.

Deirdre M. Daly, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, and Patricia M. Ferrick, Special Agent in Charge of the New Haven Division of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, today announced that a federal grand jury sitting in New Haven has returned an indictment charging Bridgeport Police officer CLIVE HIGGINS with violating an individual’s civil rights by using unreasonable force during the course of an arrest.

The indictment was returned yesterday. HIGGINS, 48, is expected to appear today at 2:30 p.m. before U.S. Magistrate Judge Joan G. Margolis in New Haven.

As alleged in the indictment, HIGGINS has been an officer with the Bridgeport Police Department since 2002. On May 20, 2011, two other Bridgeport Police officers engaged in a pursuit of a van driven by an individual who was suspected of having a firearm.

During the vehicle pursuit, HIGGINS heard radio transmissions indicating the pursuing officers were seeking back-up. As the pursuit approached Beardsley Park and the sector HIGGINS was assigned, HIGGINS responded. The vehicle pursuit ended in an open field in Beardsley Park prior to HIGGINS’s arrival. The individual fled from the van and was pursued a short distance by the two officers. One of the officers deployed his department-issued Taser and effectively incapacitated the individual. HIGGINS then arrived at the scene, exited his police cruiser, approached the individual who was lying prone on the ground, and kicked him in the head and neck area.

If convicted, HIGGINS faces a maximum term of imprisonment of 10 years and a fine of up to $250,000.

Statement from Mayor Bill Finch and Police Chief Joe Gaudett:

“The use of force is an issue that both the city and the police department take very seriously. The incident in Beardsley Park doesn’t reflect the outstanding work done every day by the men and women of this department. 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,” said Mayor Finch and Chief Gaudett in a joint statement.


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7 Comments so far ↓

  • John Marshall Lee

    No video, no foul? Is that where we are at as a society? Local oversight? I have forgotten … what did Bridgeport Police Internal Affairs conclude? Sometimes things get kicked to the State Police? What was their recommendation after review?
    State Attorney General see any rights abused? Any action? Training required? More weaponry necessary? Three big guys in uniform and one guy on the ground having been tasered? What was all the foot action about? Public safety? Federal Fines up to $250,000? But what about suits against the City? And loss of ‘trained professionals’ from the force requiring replacement? Time will tell.

      • John Marshall Lee

        Thank you for researching the settlement and responding. An article in the CT Post today reported on the matter also. The expense to the City in dollar terms has also included salary continuation for several budget cycles until recently.
        It is said INTEGRITY is doing the right thing even when no one is looking. People should recognize the omnipresence of hand-held devices that can take pictures is a fact of life that can monitor INTEGRITY. Of course, you have to know what the right thing to do in various situations first … morals … training … testing … reviewing … more training … sense of fairness to all … respect for people … more? Time will tell.

  • Ron Mackey

    With this case and the one below that just happened and is in the Post shows there is something wrong inside the Bridgeport Police Department and it’s more than just getting more training. This starts from the top and that means first Mayor Finch then Police Chief Joe Gaudett, there must be a federal investigation into this department.
    “Bridgeport firefighter claims city put his life in danger.”

  • The Bridgeport Kid

    Orlando Lopez-Soto was fleeing the police. That was his second mistake. The first was being found in possession of an unregistered firearm and a quantity of narcotics, for which he received five years in the slammer. We’re not talking about a choir boy.

    There’s a lot of griping about the Bridgeport Police Department’s rough handling of suspects. There’s a simple rule to avoid that sort of treatment: DON’T BE A CRIMINAL.


    The real person who should have been stomped should have been anyone from the Birdman’s office, you know? Wood, Alanna just to name two.

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