Bridgeport Police Officers Plead Guilty in Brutality Case - NBC Connecticut

Bridgeport Police Officers Plead Guilty in Brutality Case



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    Two Bridgeport police officers have pleaded guilty to federal civil rights charges, after they were caught on tape kicking an incapacitated man, federal prosecutors say.

    Elson Morales, 42, and Joseph Lawlor, 41, pleaded guilty Tuesday in Bridgeport to deprivation of rights under color of law, according to the U.S. Attorney's office. Sentencing is scheduled for Sept. 2.

    Video showed police officers kicking and stomping Orlando Lopez-Soto after he had already been shot with a stun gun and fallen to the ground in Beardsley Park in May 2011 following a car chase. It's not clear who recorded the video, which was posted on YouTube.

    Prosecutors say Morales used his stun gun a second time after the man was effectively incapacitated, and Lawlor kicked him several times.

    Bridgeport Police Chief Joseph Gaudett Jr. said in a statement after the officers' guilty pleas on Tuesday that his department had cooperated with the federal investigation and that he was "satisfied" that the two officers would no longer work for the department.

    “Their actions are not reflective of the good work done day-in and day-out by the overwhelming majority of the men and women of the Bridgeport Police Department,” he said in the statement.

    A third officer involved in the case, Clive Higgins, was acquitted of police brutality charges last month.