Newly-released video shows Officer Joseph Smith inside a police car punching and knocking out a handcuffed man, Gary Joseph King, in Wallingford, Connecticut on June 14.
Police Chief William Wright said King was “on an intoxicant,” pulled a knife on one officer and headbutted a second officer during the arrest, notes the Record-Journal.
Wright claimed King, who was handcuffed, was still resisting when Smith punched King’s head:
Everything up until the strike, everything is appropriate, and then thereafter the strike, everything is appropriate… They lended the due care that was necessary. It was that moment in time that, in an attempt to finally gain control of the situation, that the strike to the head took place that we can’t condone.
The Record-Journal obtained video of the incident — recorded in Officer Nicholas Judkins’ cruiser — through a Freedom of Information Act request.
Smith was suspended for two-weeks in October for excessive use of force against King while responding to a domestic violence incident.
King, who pleaded guilty to felony assault on public safety personnel, was also charged with five misdemeanors and violations.
Wright said the Connecticut State Police reviewed the video and found there was no criminal intent by Smith to harm King, even though Smith violated police training and protocol:
Through their instruction, it’s consistently held that you never, ever, ever, strike anyone in the head. Even in this case where (King) is fighting with them.
Smith could not immediately be reached for comment.