VIDEO: Officer Knocks Out Noncompliant Suspect with a Punch

Officer who threw the blow is on a two-week suspension

By Calibre Press  |   Dec 19, 2018

The Record-Journal reports: 

Police Chief William Wright said the handcuffed man that Officer Joseph Smith knocked out with a punch earlier this year had pulled a knife on one officer and headbutted another during the incident.

Smith served a two-week suspension last month for excessive use of force after he struck a handcuffed Gary Joseph King in the head while responding to a domestic violence call on Ward Street on June 14.

The Record-Journal obtained video recorded in Officer Nicholas Judkins’ cruiser through a Freedom of Information Act request.

The call came in between 9 p.m. and 10 p.m., Wright said. In the video, police can be heard saying a neighbor called the police to report loud fighting.

In the video, a woman is heard screaming. Wright said King, who was “on an intoxicant,” pulled out a knife at that point.

Officers then handcuffed King and checked his pockets, an interaction that occurs only partially within the frame of the video. 

During the search, Wright said King headbutted Officer Anthony Baur. This was not observable on the video, but King can be seen next on the ground.

Officers attempted to subdue King and place him in the rear of Judkins’ cruiser. Wright said King was still resisting when Smith delivered the blow to King’s head.

The video shows Smith striking King while struggling to get the man into the back of the cruiser. 

The blow rendered King unconscious. King was evaluated by medics at the scene and then taken to MidState Medical Center, Wright said.

King pleaded guilty to felony assault on public safety personnel.

He was also charged with five misdemeanors and violations. He is free on a promise to appear and is due back in Meriden Superior Court on Dec. 17. 

Wright said while the strike by Smith was excessive, the officers otherwise responded to the call appropriately.

“Everything up until the strike, everything is appropriate,” Wright said, “and then thereafter the strike, everything is appropriate… They lended the due care that was necessary. It was that moment in time that, in an attempt to finally gain control of the situation, that the strike to the head took place that we can’t condone.”

[Note: Videos are provided here for law enforcement reference viewing only and viewing such videos does not replace personal law enforcement training. Moreover, each live scenario is unique and nothing here should supplement an officer’s own cumulative training, experience, and personal judgment responding to such live scenarios.]

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