New London - A man who witnesses say was pepper-sprayed in the face and beaten repeatedly by police earlier this month had his case continued to Feb. 3 at an arraignment this morning in New London Superior Court.
Reuben J. Miller, 31, was charged on Dec. 14 with interfering with a police officer and second-degree breach of peace in an incident that occurred on Coit Street outside the Southeastern Connecticut on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence facility. Miller was released from custody on a promise to appear in court and was not required to appear today as his case was continued.
Witnesses allege that police punched, pepper-sprayed and repeatedly smashed Miller's head into asphalt outside the SCADD facility. Police were called to the facility to accompany an ambulance that was set to take Miller to the emergency room because of a blood alcohol content of .380, according to a witness statement from a facility technician.
Jack Malone, executive director of SCADD, said that six staff members at the organization's Coit Street facility filed witness statements with the New London Police Department. The police department has started an internal investigation into the matter.
Police Deputy Chief Marshall Segar said today that the investigation into the allegations is ongoing and it is the police department's goal to have the review completed as soon as possible. He added that Mayor Daryl Justin Finizio and police Chief Margaret Ackley are aware of the importance of an "expeditious yet thorough investigation."
Capt. William Dittman, the commander of the patrol division, was assigned to the internal investigation and will report his findings to Ackley, Segar has said.
According to a statement made by Stanley Jurgielewicz, a SCADD technician, police were called to the facility at 47 Coit Street on Dec. 14 at 7:30 p.m. It is standard operating procedure for SCADD staff to call police in helping an intoxicated client into an ambulance.
Jurgielewicz said an officer arriving on scene pulled up and sprinted from his police cruiser and attacked Miller from behind. He added that the attack became worse, as a group of about 10 people watched two more officers arrive – one of whom slammed Miller's head into the asphalt several times while another pepper-sprayed him in the face.
"I could hear his skull smashing into the concrete," Jurgielewicz said of the incident. "I'll never forget that sound. One cop was punching him in the face multiple times, punching like he was a boxer. It was like cage fighting stuff, that's how it was. It was horrifying."