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.