HARTFORD – Two weeks after an incident, a man is still recovering in Hartford Hospital from injuries he claims he sustained at the hands of East Hartford Police officers.
Jermaine Feliciano, 33, says he has been in Hartford Hospital since Nov. 29, the day after his arrest.
An internal investigation is underway at the East Hartford Police Department. The State’s Attorney's Office is also investigating.
The incident began when East Hartford Police responded to an apartment on Silver Lane for a verbal dispute on Nov. 28. The complainant stated they could hear kids crying.
According to a police report, upon police arrival, a male and female were yelling loudly in the hallway. Feliciano was involved in the dispute and fled at the sight of police.
Officer Jared Richards wrote in the report that he pursued the male, yelling clear and loud verbal commands for him to stop to which he did not comply with. When Officer Richards ran around the corner, he saw Feliciano at the bottom of a steep hill leading into a wooded area. He appeared to have fallen. Officer Richards said he yelled at Feliciano to stay on the ground and show his hands, but Feliciano got up and ran.
When the second officer on scene, Officer David Choquette, caught up to the pair, the report states, they placed Feliciano under arrest.
The police report does not indicate that any violence occurred.
Feliciano says police are leaving out what really happened.
“One of them dropped their knee down on my back, picked me up, put me against the wall and raised my hands up behind my back, and um, the other cop from the side just, I don’t know if it was the sticks or his fist but just began to hit me in the side,” Feliciano said. “When I was falling the other cops kept me up, and um, one of them started kneeing me. He was hitting me from the back and I was hitting the cement from the wall…I felt like I was gonna die.”
Feliciano, a father of six, admits he had a troubled past but says he turned his life around. He acknowledged wrongdoing for running from police.
“I was a little intoxicated, a little scared, you know, I haven`t gotten in trouble in years,” he said. “I just feel like it's wrong, I was wrong for running but I don’t deserve the beating that they gave me.”
Feliciano’s attorney Andrew Crumbie said he was beaten by police and sustained critical injuries which includes seven broken ribs, a punctured lung, a ruptured spleen and a fractured shoulder.
Crumbie said Feliciano requested medical attention several times while incarcerated at the East Hartford Police Station, but never got it.
In a letter to the state’s attorney, Crumbie wrote:
Mr. Feliciano was held in a jail cell throughout the night while in excruciating pain and spitting and vomiting blood as a result of severe internal bleeding. Other prisoners housed with Mr. Feliciano attempted to flood the cell with water due to the voluminous amounts of blood expelled by Mr. Feliciano during his confinement.
The following day, after arriving to court for his arraignment, Crumbie said Feliciano was taken to Manchester Hospital. He was transported to Hartford Hospital’s Intensive Care Unit.
“I myself was a police officer for 20 years and I have never seen such a reckless and callous disregard for human safety and human life in this instance,” attorney Crumbie said. “As he was being transported to the EHPD one of the officers kept saying to him -- remember you fell down the embankment, right? -- he basically cried as a result of thinking this was gonna be covered up.”
Crumbie’s letter to the state’s attorney, East Hartford Police and the U.S. Department of Justice demands “an immediate investigation into the actions and behaviors of the police officers involved in the assault on Mr. Feliciano as well as the actions of those who refused him medical attention.”
According to Crumbie, the state’s attorney said she is actively investigating the matter and seized video tape from the East Hartford Police Department.
“Per standard protocol, East Hartford Police began investigating this matter internally over a week ago, upon becoming aware of injuries Mr. Feliciano claims he sustained during his arrest on November 28th,” East Hartford Police Lieutenant Joshua Litwin said in a statement. “This investigation is ongoing.”
The charges against Feliciano include violation of protective order, second-degree breach of peace and resisting arrest/interfering with an officer.
In a comment, East Hartford Mayor Marcia Leclerc said: "I trust in the integrity and professionalism of my police department."