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Bridgeport police accused of brutality in lawsuit

January 29, 2013 3:12:55 PM PST
A man seen on a video being beaten by three Bridgeport police officers has filed a $1 million lawsuit, while NAACP leaders are calling on police officials to arrest and fire the officers.

Orlando Lopez-Soto, 27, filed the lawsuit Monday in U.S. District Court in Bridgeport, accusing the officers of violating his constitutional rights, using excessive force and other wrongdoing, the Connecticut Post reported (http://bit.ly/T38YuZ ).

The video shows officers Joseph Lawlor, Elson Morales and Clive Higgins kicking and stomping Lopez-Soto in Beardsley Park in May 2011 following a car chase. It's not clear who recorded the video, which was posted recently on YouTube and has been viewed more than 95,000 times.

All three officers have been placed on paid administrative duty pending a police internal affairs investigation.

"We want the immediate arrests of the three men who conducted this massive and brutal beating of a downed man," said Scot X. Esdaile, president of the Connecticut NAACP chapter, adding that city officials should fire the officers.

Lawlor's attorney declined to comment. There is no phone listing for Higgins and it's not clear if he has a lawyer.

Morales' lawyer, Michael Fitzpatrick, said his client did nothing wrong and everything on the video can be explained.

Lawlor wrote in a police report that Lopez-Soto struggled with police after falling to the ground when Morales shot him with a stun gun. Lawlor said Lopez-Soto was wearing a gun holster on his belt, and officers later found a loaded handgun and drugs in Lopez-Soto's van.

Lopez-Soto pleaded guilty to drug and gun charges in July and was sentenced to five years in prison.

The lawsuit alleges Lopez-Soto was motionless on the ground and not resisting when the officers kicked and stomped him. He says he suffered pain, a bad cut to his lip that left a scar, body and face contusions and a fracture to his hand.

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Information from: Connecticut Post, http://www.connpost.com

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