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The police department will investigate allegations of brutality following the public release of a video that shows two officers punching and kicking a man on Blake Street last month, the police chief announced Wednesday.
"I have asked the Internal Affairs Division to conduct a full and thorough investigation of these allegations," Chief Frank Limon said in a statement released Wednesday afternoon. "While this investigation is pending, the department, in the interest of transparency, is releasing publicly all available information about the incident and the individual involved in it."
Police said they were dispatched to Blake Street, between Diamond Street and Osborn Avenue, shortly after 6 p.m. on June 23 after a report that a shot had been fired in the area. As officers Ekrem Halim and Christopher Senior approached, they said, they saw a man clad in black walking "quickly" on Blake Street, according to an arrest report.
The man, Joseph Donaby, 31, of 49 Wayfarer St., New Haven, appeared to have a weapon in his front waistband, Halim said, and started running from officers and tried to take the weapon — later determined to be a .22-caliber Weatherby rifle — out of his waistband, the arrest report says.
Halim said Donaby refused orders to drop his gun and began hitting the two officers in the chest and face when they tried to grab him, according to the arrest report.
The officers yell "Put your hands behind your back" several times.
At one point, the man appears to say, "I can't," and "my shoulder."
At the end of the video, an officer is heard saying, "He had a gun. He had a gun, right?"
Terrance Gray, a New Haven resident who took the video on his cell phone, said he yelled out to the officers to "stop fighting."
"I just felt it was wrong because he was already down," Gray said. "They Tased him. He fell straight on his stomach, and then one cop jumped on him. [He] was punching him in the head. The other one was stomping him, kicking him."
Gray said he gave the video to Donaby's mother and the New Haven Advocate.
According to the police report, Donaby had an inch-and-a-half-long cut on the left side of his forehead and was taken to the Hospital of St. Raphael in New Haven.
Donaby's family said he also had injuries to his neck, back, mouth and shoulder, and was in the hospital for three days.
"They treated my son like nothing but an animal," said Loretta Parker, Donaby's mother, in an interview with Fox CT. "He said he wasn't doing nothing; he hadn't done nothing. You can hear him sound like a lion in the jungle and [like] something is trying to kill him."
Donaby, who police said has a number of prior convictions, was arrested and charged with criminal possession of a firearm, two counts of carrying a dangerous weapon and assault on a police officer, among other crimes.
According to state court records, Donaby previously was convicted of a number of crimes, including carrying a dangerous weapon, burglary, larceny and drug possession.
In: Other News
Tags: investigation, new haven police, brutality, cellphone video, raw video
Location: New Haven, Connecticut, United States (load item map)
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