Published December 31. 2011 4:00AM
New London - Reuben J. Miller, the man allegedly beaten and pepper-sprayed by police this month, has a fractured rib, among other injuries, and spent several hours at Lawrence & Memorial Hospital after he was released from jail, Miller's attorney said Friday.
Miller had CAT scans and X-rays done after his Dec. 14 arrest, attorney David Jaffe said, and suffered bruises over a large portion of his body. At least one rib was broken, Jaffe said, and Miller had a concussion and suffers from headaches and has trouble sleeping. Most of the physical injuries were sustained to Miller's ribs, neck and back, Jaffe said.
Police charged Miller, 31, Dec. 14 with interfering with an officer and second-degree breach of peace after responding around 7:30 p.m. to the Southeastern Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence detoxification center on Coit Street. Witnesses, including center technician Stanley Jurgielewicz, said four police officers, who were called by SCADD to help bring Miller to the hospital, repeatedly punched and pepper sprayed Miller when they arrived on scene.
The police department is conducting an internal investigation led by Capt. William Dittman, the commander of the patrol division.
Jaffe, an attorney from the Hartford-based law firm Brown, Paindiris & Scott, said he represents Miller in his criminal case and is investigating whether to bring a civil claim to court. Miller's criminal case was continued Thursday until Feb. 3.
"It does appear that the police officers were overzealous and that they didn't ask any questions before they jumped in," Jaffe said. "I think the police just made an assumption, which was false, and they didn't investigate the situation to find out what really happened. And then they attacked him, unjustifiably."
Police took Miller to jail where he was booked and released that night on a promise to appear in court. Police released Miller's booking photo on Thursday after The Day filed a Freedom of Information request. Segar said Thursday that the investigation into the allegations is ongoing and that it is the police department's goal to have the review completed as soon as possible.
Jaffe said after his release from police custody, Miller went on his own to the L&M emergency room, where he spent several hours undergoing tests. Miller has subsequently visited numerous doctors, Jaffe said.
"It certainly doesn't appear Reuben was a threat to anybody and apparently they made the mistake that he was," Jaffe said.
"He was at a detox center, he was there to get help. If somebody is seeking help, it doesn't make sense to attack them."