(WTNH) – The Office of Inspector General released its first annual report looking at nine incidents investigated last year where police officers in Connecticut used deadly force. The report shows that after investigation, all but one case was justified.
The report also looked at three in-custody deaths, recommendations and legislative proposals.
Here’s a look at the completed investigations for officer use of deadly force:
Roznovsky Machado – September 14, 2020
On Sept. 14, 2020, around 8 p.m., Naugatuck Police Sergeant Nicholas Kehoss shot his gun three times at a Dodge Charger driven by Machado on Route 8. All three bullets hit the car, but none struck Macahdo.
During the investigation it was learned that Machado rammed Kehoss’ cruiser, pushing it into Kehoss.
It was concluded that Kehoss justifiably used deadly force.
Juan Villa – September 16, 2020
On September 16, 2020, Bridgeport Police Officer Eliud Henry fired one shot and struck Juan Esteban Villa Ramirez. The bullet caused serious, but nonfatal injury to Villa.
During the investigation, Villa was stabbing another person with a large knife. Verbal commands and a stun gun deployment had no effect on Villa. According to the IG report, Henry’s use of force was justified.
Mubarak Soulemane – January 15, 2020
On January 15, 2020, on Campbell Avenue in West Haven, after a pursuit on I-95, Connecticut State Police Troopers Brian North, Joshua Jackson, and Ross Dalling stopped a stolen car operated by Soulemane.
North fired seven shots through the driver’s side window and struck Soulemane.
During the investigation, the IG determined that when North fired his gun, neither he nor any other person was in imminent danger, therefore the IG found that North’s use of deadly force was not justified.
North was charged with first-degree manslaughter and the case is still pending.
Shamar Ogman – December 26, 2020
On December 26, 2020 on Gilman Street in Hartford, Officer Ashley Martinez fired one shot, striking and killing Ogman.
The investigation determined that Hartford officers responded to the report of a man carrying a gun on the street. Ogman ignored numerous commands to drop the weapon and took a position behind a dumpster. Ogman then raised the rifle at the officers and Martinez shot at him.
According to the IG’s report, Martinez’s use of force was found to be justified.
Dennis Waiters – June 15, 2021
On June 15, 2021, in Bridgeport, Officer Carlos Vazquez fired one shot, striking and wounding Dennis Waiters, Jr.
It was determined that state and federal officers stopped a car that was believed to have a gun inside. As the car was being stopped, Waiters, who was driving the car, put it in reverse and struck four cars. Waiters then drove directly at Vazquez who then fired one shot.
Waiters was struck in the leg.
It was determined Vazquez was justified in using deadly force.
Kenneth Strothers – February 12, 2021
On February 12, 2021, Meriden Officer Erik Simonson shot one round and struck Kenneth Strothers in the lower abdomen.
It was learned that Simonson believed that Strothers had a gun and racked a round in anticipation of shooting Simonson or another officer.
Strothers was brought to the hospital where he recovered.
The IG found that Simonson was justified in his use of force.
Corneilius McCullough – April 26, 2021
On April 26, 2021, Derby Police Officer Daniel Foley was in his cruiser when two people approached his car. He shot his gun, striking McCullough in the leg.
It was learned that Foley shot at McCullough after it was learned he was unlawfully shooting a gun at an occupied car.
The IG found that Foley justifiably used deadly force.
Marvin Owens – January 13, 2022
On January 13, 2022, on Wheeler Street in New Haven, Deputy United States Marshal James Materson shot five times at a box truck being driven by Marvin Owens.
It was learned that Materson was attempting to serve three arrest warrants to Owens and Materson fired his gun at the front tire of the box truck and not at Owens.
The IG found that the use of deadly force was justified.
Christopher Hagans – February 5, 2021
On February 5, 2021, in Stratford, officers blocked in a car being driven by Christopher Hagans. It was learned that officers were attempting to take Hagans in on a felony arrest warrant when he refused to comply to show his hands. It was thought he was in possession of a loaded gun.
Hagans attempted to escape by driving away, and officers shot at the car. Hagans fled on foot, but was apprehended.
The IG concluded that the Stratford officers justifiably used deadly force.
Here are the pending cases that involve the use of deadly force:
- Andrew O’Lone – October 26, 2021
- Brian Dungan – March 23, 2022
- Raul Otero – May 30, 2022
- Ryan Marzi – August 24, 2022
- Jose Claudio – October 7, 2022
- Nicholas Brutcher – October 12, 2022
- Nicholas Gambardella – January 5, 2023
The Office of the Inspector General is also investigating police custody deaths. Here are look at the cases currently pending:
- Brenton Chambers – February 4, 2022
- Joseph Torrice – July 10, 2022
- Kevin Doherty – December 26, 2022
While the report looked at the investigations over the past year, they also released recommendations, including a modification to the rule where body camera and dash camera video be released 96 hours after the incident.
In the report, the IG states that the current law requires the office to publicly disclose body camera and dash camera video within 96 hours of the incident.
“In rare situations, the 96-hour limit poses problems – particularly where an involved officer is injured during the OIS incident,” the report stated.
The IG is recommending amending the 96-hour rule to allow extra time, up to a maximum of an additional 48 hours, before public disclosure is required.
To see the full report, click here.