Bridgeport Charges dismissed, IA complaint still on
BRIDGEPORT — City Councilwoman Karen Jackson said authorities have dismissed their case against her 15-year-old son, who was charged June 27 with resisting and interfering with the officers after fleeing from police investigating the theft of a volleyball.
But, Jackson said, the Internal Affairs complaint she filed alleging those cops used excessive force, including a Taser shock, on her son, Gabriyel Fraser, is still pending.
Jackson on Tuesday provided Hearst Connecticut Media with a copy of an “erasure of record” order, issued earlier that day by Superior Court Judge Robert Clark, for Fraser. Jackson said prosecutors dismissed the charges against her son in late September.
Juvenile court records are not publicly available and the erasure of record order does not detail why the case was dismissed. Jackson has used her son’s name in discussions about the case with Hearst.
Jackson also provided Hearst with copies of two police reports detailing the minutes leading up to Fraser’s arrest — documents that had not previously been publicly available. The reports confirm Jackson’s complaint that officers used an “electronic control device” — a Taser — on her son and also struck him.
The documents also provide previously unpublicized details of the incident from the officers’ perspective, including the extent to which Fraser refused to cooperate and one cop’s concern that the young man was concealing a weapon.
Fraser was one of three black males accused by a Priscilla Street resident of entering her yard and stealing her autistic daughter’s pink volleyball. The complainant pointed out the young men at Nob Hill Park to Officer Linet Castillo-Jimenez.
Castillo-Jimenez said in her report that she approached the suspects to talk and they scattered.
“I immediately said, ‘Guys, stand by. I just need to ask you a quick question,’ ” Castillo-Jimenez wrote. She pursued Fraser, who was carrying a book bag, temporarily lost sight of him, then, with back-up officers, found him again.
“Fraser made eye contact with me and immediately began to flee again,” Castillo-Jimenez continued. “Officers yelled verbal command — ‘Police! Stop running!’ But Fraser refused to stop.”
The cops caught up to Fraser at Nob Hill Circle and, Castillo-Jimenez said, again ordered the boy to stop. He stopped but, Castillo-Jimenez wrote, did not get on the ground when ordered, requiring “several” officers use “necessary force.”
Fraser, according to the police reports, also ignored a command to place his hands behind his back, instead keeping “both his hands against his chest with closed fist.” As the police tried to get Fraser to comply, an “Officer Szeps” used a Taser to stun Fraser on his right calf “for less than 5 seconds in order to gain control,” the reports said.
Another responding officer, Gianni Capozziello, in a separate report, wrote that Fraser “was standing in a combative posture with clenched fists” at Nob Hill Circle.
Capozziello wrote that he at one point unholstered his own Taser device and struck Fraser “multiple times with the bottom portion ... to the shoulder area.” Fraser “finally went to the ground after a struggle,” Capozziello said.
“I was giving him multiple verbal commands to ‘stop resisting’ and ‘show me your hands,’ ” Capozziello wrote. “Fearing that Fraser may have been going underneath his body to grab a weapon and to gain control (of) his left arm I closed-fist struck him twice in the left rib cage area. ... I could not get him under control but grabbed his left wrist and held on to his arm so he could not move it under his body.”
Capozziello said at that point Szeps used a Taser and “shortly after” Fraser was handcuffed. The police reports indicated, and Jackson previously confirmed that her son was not seriously injured in the incident.
Police Chief Armando Perez in discussing Jackson’s internal affairs complaint with Hearst in July said, “as far as I know that day, everything was on the up and up.” But Perez also admitted, “I’m not comfortable with the young man being Tased.”
The police reports also stated that officers found a basketball in Fraser’s book bag, but there was no mention of a pink volleyball being recovered.
Jackson said Tuesday that by dismissing her son’s case, the court vindicated Fraser. Asked what she would have advised her son to do, Jackson said, “To avoid the headache, you didn’t do anything wrong, stay your butt there (and) tell them call your mom. But you don’t run.”