Stonington police keeping eye on home of correction officer in ICE protest incident

Stonington — Town police said they are performing more frequent patrols by the Pawcatuck home of a correctional captain who struck protesters with his pickup truck Wednesday outside the Wyatt Correctional Facility in Central Falls, R.I.

Thomas Woodworth, a 53-year-old town native, resigned from his position Friday, according to the Providence Journal.

Woodworth called town police on Thursday morning to let the department know what had occurred and to ask for more frequent patrol checks of his home, according to Capt. Todd Olson.

"He was concerned that what occurred at his work could affect where he lives," Olson said. "He asked for frequent checks of his home, which we are doing."

Video recordings of the incident show Woodworth attempting to pull into a parking lot outside the facility when he encountered protesters, demonstrating against the facility's housing of Immigration & Customs Enforcement detainees, sitting and standing in front of the entryway to the parking lot.  

He paused, then kept driving his pickup truck, even though people remained in his path, and at least two people were reported injured. A chaotic scene ensued, with protesters jumping on the truck and chanting "The whole world is watching." Officers sprayed at least three people with pepper spray, according to news reports.

The protesters were identified as members of Never Again Action, who identify themselves as Jewish people who consider ICE's detention camps at the southern border and its treatment of immigrants throughout the country "a mass atrocity."

Rhode Island State Police, who are investigating the incident, called Stonington police to make sure they were aware of the incident and that Woodworth lives in town, according to Olson.

Nobody answered the door at Woodworth's home Friday afternoon, where there were several "Private Property" signs in clear view. He also could not be reached by phone or email.

Woodworth previously had worked for the Connecticut Department of Correction. He was hired in February 1989 and retired in good standing on April 1, 2009, as a correctional lieutenant, according to Karen Martucci, director of external affairs for the DOC.

The Wyatt detention facility, which houses federal prisoners and ICE detainees, is privately operated. The warden did not return two phone messages on Monday.

Woodworth was one of 11 staff members from the Corrigan Radgowski Correctional Institution in Montville who were sued by an inmate for excessive force in 2005. The lawsuit later was dismissed.

k.florin@theday.com

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