WILLIMANTIC, Conn. (WTNH) — The Office of the Inspector General ruled on Wednesday that the use of physical force during an arrest by a Willimantic police officer last year was justified.
On May 30, 2022, a Willimantic police officer was on patrol when he spotted a suspect who had a warrant out for his arrest on Spring Street. The suspect was identified as Raul Otero.
The officer told Otero, he had a warrant out for his arrest. According to police, Otero took off and ran onto the porch of a Pearl Street home. The officer was able to grab onto the suspect, but Otero escaped his grip.
Police said Otero then broke into another home on Pearl Street and attempted to slam the door shut behind him. The officer was able to stick his foot in the door to keep it from closing, but Otero used the opportunity to repeatedly slam the door into the officer’s knees, according to officials.
The police officer called for backup from as Otero refused to leave the home he broke into. Police said a second officer came to assist. Police said Otero began to be combative with both officers and he swung his arms and struck an officer in the chest.
Corporal Charron arrived on the scene to help with the arrest. The three officers managed to bring Otero to the ground where he continued to physically resist arrest.
According to officials, an officer witnessed Otero attempt to grab one of the police officer’s pistols, and Charron told him not to grab it.
One officer ran back out to his car to retrieve his K9 partner, which left the other two officers alone briefly. The suspect kept trying to grab the gun, despite Charron trying to shift away from Otero. The suspect continued to act erratically, resisting and not following commands.
Charron began to get tired and feared he and his coworkers’ lives were in danger if Otero did gain access to the gun.
According to a report from the Office of the Inspector General, Charron wrapped his arm around Otero’s neck and squeezed until he lost consciousness.
Otero lost consciousness for about five to 10 seconds, and during that time officers were able to handcuff him and then place him in a recovery position.
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Officers then searched him and found a crack pipe in his pocket. He was then transported to the local hospital for evaluation.
Otero was taken to the hospital and records show he had a muscle strain in the neck and an unspecified head injury.
As a result of the investigation. Otero was charged with first-degree assault on a public safety officer, resisting arrest, second-degree breach of peace and third-degree criminal mischief.
Otero is currently being held on bond pending resolution of the charges.
According to the report from the Office of the Inspector General, Otero obtained no injuries from the chokehold application.
The analysis from the Office of the Inspector General said Charron was attempting to execute a lawful arrest and other officers were brought in to help but were unsuccessful. The report said Otero violently resisted arrest, assaulted an officer and remained combative even when he was brought to the ground.
The analysis showed Otero attempted to grab a firearm on three occasions which would lead a reasonable officer to believe the suspect may discharge the firearm and place his life in jeopardy.
The Office of the Inspector General said the use of deadly force in this instance was justified, as the suspect was placing the officer’s life in jeopardy.