Man charged with choking, hurling slurs at stranger at Groton grocery store
Groton — A New London man was charged with allegedly hurling homophobic slurs at another man and choking him until he was unconscious outside a grocery store earlier this month.
Chris Archuleta, 38, of 35 Cape Ann Court, was charged with first-degree intimidation based on bias or bigotry, second-degree strangulation, third-degree assault and second-degree breach of peace, for allegedly attacking a stranger as he left Big Y at 995 Poquonnock Road, according to the Groton Town Police Department.
About 1:55 p.m. on Oct. 8, police received multiple 911 calls reporting that a man was being choked outside of Big Y. When officers arrived, they spotted Archuleta with his arms wrapped around the neck of a man who was pinned to the ground, police said.
The man and his wife — whose names were redacted in a police report — told police that they were leaving the grocery store when Archuleta began randomly shouting homophobic slurs at the man. Archuleta allegedly lunged at him after calling him names and brought him to the ground, where he locked him in a tight chokehold, police said.
A witness told police he saw Archuleta choking the man "and thought he was going to kill him." He said he and several other people in the parking lot were yelling at Archuleta to let the victim go.
Police took Archuleta into custody at the scene. They said he admitted to calling the couple names and antagonizing them. He told police he acted in self defense after exercising his right to freedom of speech, according to a police report.
He was released from custody on a $5,000 bond and was scheduled to appear on Oct. 28 in New London Superior Court G.A. 10, according to court records.
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