The New Haven Independent has published some disturbing pictures of Tomas Torres who says that police raided his apartment looking for drugs and immediately punched him in the face, stomped on his head, and then laughed at him as they tore apart his apartment. They found no drugs and charged him with no crimes. He was left with bruises and an apartment that was completely trashed.
When asked about the raid, Lt. J. Paul Vance, spokesman for the state police, denied that he had any record of state police action anywhere in New Haven on Wednesday and said the account sounded suspicious.
However, Lt. Jeff Hoffman, who oversees the city’s Tactical Narcotics Unit, confirmed the raid and said that Torres resisted detention when police pulled him back in from a window. After finding no drugs, the officers let him go to the hospital where they doctors determined that his arm was fractured.
Torres is looking for a lawyer and is likely to find some interest given the significant injuries and condition of the apartment. This is a common complaint from citizens who have had their apartments “tossed” by police. While police departments often note that there is a process for property damage claims, the process is often long and bureaucratic. Moreover, small damages like trashing the apartment or walls are difficult to establish and even more difficult to secure damages for in this process.
In this case, Torres says that he did not hear an identification of the officers — a standard practice in a “knock and announce.” Unless police have a no knock warrant, they are supposed to clearly identify themselves. Torres said that he thought drug dealers were breaking into his apartment. The degree of bruising and injury would seem to reflect a significant level of force. Of course, the police need to be heard on the allegations of resistance by Torres. However, the allegations clearly warrant further investigation given these pictures and the medical records. What is also notable is that Torres was not charged with assaulting police officers — a charge that is often filed with limited physical contact.
For citizens in the underclass, such raids are well-known but usually out of the sight and mind of mainstream media. These pictures (if found to be legitimate) offer a rare glimpse into the results of some raids.
Source: New Haven Independent