WETHERSFIELD — Two Connecticut State Troopers were arraigned Tuesday in New Britain on charges of kidnapping and assault with a firearm.
State Police identified the men as Trooper Rupert Laird, 30, of Manchester, who is assigned to Troop C in Tolland and Trooper Xavier Cruz, 30, of Wethersfield, who is assigned to Troop K in Colchester. Both started on the force in 2012.
The Wethersfield police say both were arrested in connection with an alleged assault at Cruz’s home in Wethersfield on Saturday, February 18, while they were off-duty. Police said Cruz was with a group of people, including the alleged victim, Felipe Figueroa-Garcia, at T’s Cafe and Lounge in Hartford. After the bar closed at 3:30 am, the group went back to Cruz’s home for an after party, which is what led to the assault.
Figureroa-Garcia told police that he began flirting with a woman at Cruz's home and grabbed her buttocks. He then told police the two didn't have anymore contact.
It turns out, the woman, whose buttocks he grabbed, was the girlfriend of Trooper Rupert Laird, who was not made aware of Figueroa-Garcia's advances toward his girlfriend until several hours later.
Laird then allegedly confronted Figueroa-Garcia at about 8 a.m. that morning, inside Cruz's house, where, according to the victim, Laird pulled a handgun and pointed it at his chest.
The victim alleges Laird said, "You know I can kill you, right?" He claims Trooper Xavier Cruz was standing right there and did nothing to prevent this threat.
A short time later, Laird put the gun on the fireplace mantle, according to Figueroa-Garcia.
The victim then said Laird asked Cruz to go get something upstairs and, when he came back, he had a police baton in his hands. It that point that Figueroa-Garcia said Cruz told him to take his glasses off.
Figaro-Garcia told police Laird then said "You touched my girl. You know you're gonna pay for this."
Then, Cruz and Laird escorted Figueroa-Garcia to the basement where he says he was told to take all of his clothes off, except his underwear.
First he said he was head butted by Laird. Then, he alleges, he was repeatedly kicked by Laird in the chest. That, Figueroa-Garcia says, was when Laird hit him repeatedly with the police baton on his thighs and buttocks.
The same pattern of beating was repeated over and over for at least 30 minutes, according to the alleged victim.
Figueroa-Garcia alleges Xavier Cruz watched Rupert Laird beating him almost the entire time.
Following the beating, Figueroa-Garcia said he was instructed by Laird to clean up all the blood with a pile of napkins he was given.
According to Figueroa-Garcia, after the pain was too much to deal with from his injuries, he went to St. Francis hospital on Monday, February 20, which is when a nurse reported his incident to Wethersfield police.
Each trooper was released from custody after posting $750,000 bond. Cruz and Laird were also placed under house arrest, which means they are not permitted to work.
State Police Sgt. Eric Haglund released a statement following the arrests Tuesday morning:
The Connecticut State Police is committed to serving all of Connecticut’s residents while embodying our core values of professionalism, respect, and integrity. We hold accountable all members of the agency, emphasizing their obligation to uphold these values and our standard of conduct, whether on-duty or off-duty.
Immediately upon learning of the egregious conduct of two off-duty state troopers, Tpr. Rupert Laird, Troop C-Tolland, and Tpr. Xavier Cruz, Troop K-Colchester, the Connecticut State Police suspended their police powers, confiscated their weapons, badges and patrol vehicles, and opened its own administrative inquiry. Both troopers are suspended pending the outcome of the proceedings.
The Wethersfield Police Department is the lead investigate body. Any requests for information on the progress of this case should be addressed to the New Britain State’s Attorney’s Office.
Their next court date is scheduled for March 29.