Report of the State's Attorney for the Judicial District of New London Concerning the Use of Deadly Physical Force by a Connecticut State Police Trooper Resulting in Non-Lethal Injuries to Keith Corey
Section 51-277a of the General Statutes provides that, whenever a peace officer in the performance of his or her duties, uses deadly physical force upon another person and such person dies as a result thereof, the Division of Criminal Justice shall cause an investigation to be made and shall determine whether the use of deadly physical force was appropriate under section 53a-22 of the General Statutes.
On January 11, 2014, Connecticut State Police Trooper Bryan Fahey used deadly physical force causing non-lethal injuries to Keith Corey in the town of Lisbon.
Supervisory Inspector Philip Fazzino was notified after the shooting and inspectors immediately went to the scene. The Connecticut State Police Central District Major Crime Squad (CDMCS) conducted the investigation in conjunction with inspectors from this office. Detective Patrick Meehan submitted the completed investigatory casebook which this writer has adopted and incorporated into his report.
It is the conclusion of the undersigned that the use of deadly physical force was appropriate.
On Saturday, January 11, 2014, at approximately 8:13 p.m., the Connecticut State Police Eastern District Centralized Dispatch Center received a 911 call reporting an erratic, possibly intoxicated, driver on Route 12 in the Town of Plainfield. The 911 caller described the vehicle as a gray Chrysler Sebring convertible with Connecticut registration 493-ZJO. At approximately 8:19 p.m., Trooper Brian Sumner attempted to stop the Chrysler with lights and siren on Route 12 in the vicinity of Slater Avenue in Jewett City. The operator of the Chrysler failed to stop and engaged Trooper Sumner in a motor vehicle pursuit. Trooper Sumner was joined by several Troopers in pursuing and attempting to stop the Chrysler. The pursuit was terminated and re-engaged on several occasions. Visual contact was maintained throughout the incident, which continued for approximately forty minutes. While on Route I-395 South approaching Exit 82 in the Town of Lisbon, Troopers positioned their cruisers in a box-in maneuver and attempted to bring the Chrysler to a forced but controlled stop. Trooper Sumner was positioned directly ahead of the Chrysler in the right lane. Trooper David Abely was positioned in the left lane beside the Chrysler. Sergeant Wilfred Blanchette and Trooper Bryan Fahey were following behind keeping other vehicles on the highway at a safe distance. The operator of the Chrysler, in an attempt to escape the box-in, swerved to the left striking Trooper Abely’s cruiser and then spun off the left side of the roadway. The Chrysler came to a stop in the grass median facing north against the metal beam guard rail. As the Troopers surrounded the Chrysler and began exiting their cruisers, the Chrysler operator began to drive forward and in reverse, spinning his wheels in an attempt to flee, striking a cruiser and nearly striking several Troopers. The operator would not comply with verbal commands given by the Troopers to stop and continued to endanger the Troopers by attempting to escape. In response, Trooper Fahey, after warning the operator he would shoot, shot once at the operator, striking him in the upper right leg area. The operator at this time gave up his attempt to escape and was taken into custody, as was the front seat passenger. The operator was identified as Keith Corey and the passenger was identified as Jennifer Feeney, both of Waterford, Connecticut.
Detective Patrick Meehan of the CDMCS was assigned the investigation. On January 11, 2014, at approximately 11:22 p.m., Det. Meehan arrived at the scene on I-395 and was briefed on the incident. Prior to Det. Meehan’s arrival, Trooper Fahey had been transported to William W. Backus Hospital in Norwich for evaluation, although no physical injuries were reported at that time. Sergeant Blanchette and Troopers Sumner, Abely and Duffy had been taken to the Troop E Barracks in Montville and were awaiting further instructions. The Chrysler and all involved cruisers remained at the scene in their final positions.
Sergeant Blanchette and Troopers, Sumner, Abely and Duffy returned to the scene and gave an overall “walkthrough” of the scene for the purposes of assisting investigators in the identification of the involved cruisers and the recovery of evidence. Union and legal representatives for the Sergeant and Troopers were present during the walkthroughs. The Sergeant and Troopers each indicated that they would be completing supplemental reports as soon as practicable after they had an opportunity to review the cruiser’s video camera images, which is in accord with State Police Department policy. They were each photographed, in full State Police uniforms, as they were at the time of the shooting. Each of the Trooper’s duty weapons was found to have one Federal brand .45 caliber round chambered and a fully loaded eight capacity magazine. The three ammunition magazines on their belts were each filled to capacity with eight Federal brand .45 caliber rounds.
On January 12, 2014 at approximately 2:00 p.m., during the walkthrough with Sergeant Blanchette, Det. Meehan seized Trooper Fahey’s duty weapon a Sig Saug .45 caliber, serial #37A035740, and three additional ammunition magazines from the trunk of Sergeant Blanchette’ s cruiser. Sergeant Blanchette stated that immediately after the shooting and after the scene had been secured, he took possession of Trooper Fahey’s weapon and magazines and secured them in his trunk. Trooper Fahey’s duty weapon was found to have one Federal brand .45 caliber round chambered and seven additional in the eight capacity magazine. The three additional ammunition magazines were each filled to capacity with eight Federal brand .45 caliber rounds. Sergeant Blanchette’ s cruiser camera hard drive had a damaged lock and was unable to be removed at the scene. The damage had been reported and a repair request submitted prior to the pursuit and shooting. The hard drive containing the video images was later removed from the cruiser and secured by Eastern District Major Crime Sergeant Jay Delgrosso, and turned over to Detective Meehan on January 14, 2014.
At the scene, Detective Meehan secured the video camera tapes and digital media cards from the cruisers of Troopers Fahey, Sumner, Abely and Duffy. The scene was documented with digital photography, video recording and scene diagrams. The area was searched, however the expended shell casing from Trooper Fahey’s duty weapon was never located.
Detective Gogluicci responded to Backus Hospital where he met with and photographed Trooper Fahey in full uniform, just as he was at the time of the shooting. At approximately 11:50 p.m., Detective Gogluicci obtained a gunshot residue kit from Trooper Fahey, which was then turned over to Detective Meehan. No statements were taken from Trooper Fahey at this time.
Detectives Dwyer and Wisner were assigned to respond to William W. Backus Hospital in Norwich, where Keith Corey had been transported. Detectives Dwyer and Wisner arrived at the hospital and met with Troopers Bettini and Wright who were guarding Keith Corey. According to Trooper Bettini and hospital staff, Keith Corey arrived by ambulance with a gunshot wound. Hospital staff advised Detective Dwyer that Corey was currently intubated, not due to his injuries, but to neutralize his aggressive behavior so he could be treated. It was reported by hospital staff that Corey appeared to be under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs and that he was acting in a very aggressive manner. Soon after Detective Dwyer and Wisner arrived, Corey became alert. Detective Wisner verbally advised Corey of his Miranda rights and that he was currently in State Police custody. When Corey was asked if he was willing to submit to an interview he replied, “You are all a bunch of pussies. The police wanted me to stop and I wouldn’t stop, that’s what happened. You faggots pulled me outta my car and beat me.” Corey then stated that he no longer wanted to speak to the detectives. Detective Dwyer noticed a strong odor of an intoxicating liquor on Corey’s breath as he spoke. Corey’s speech was slurred and he appeared confused. Shortly thereafter, at approximately 1:56 a.m. on January 12, 2014, Corey was released from Backus Hospital and transported to Troop E by Trooper Wright. Corey was then remanded to the custody of the Department of Correction at the Corrigan-Radgowski Correctional Center in Montville for violation of parole.
The Chrysler and Trooper Fahey’s cruiser were towed from the scene and secured in a garage at Troop E. The investigation at the scene on I-395 was completed and CDMCS investigators cleared the scene on January 12, 2014, at approximately 4:30 a.m.
On January 14, 2014, the Chrysler was processed for evidence related to the shooting. During the search of the vehicle the area of the bullet strike was identified. There was impact damage visible to the driver’s seat belt stem. Immediately beyond the seat belt stem, impact damage was located on the left side of the center console. A projectile was recovered from inside the center console. The bullet strike damages to the seat belt stem and center console were found not conducive to determining an accurate bullet trajectory path.
After the shooting, Feeney was transported to Troop E in Montville where she voluntarily gave a written statement to Trooper Joshua Chivers. In summary Jennifer Feeney indicated in the statement to Trooper Chivers that on Saturday, January 11, 2014, at about 3:30p.m. she drove from work in Essex to her home in Waterford. At about 4:00 p.m., Keith Corey came there, as he rents a room at that house from Feeney’s father. Feeney stated that she has known Keith for about three weeks, that they work different shifts and had not seen each other very much. At about 4:30 p.m., Feeney asked Keith if he wanted to go to her friend’s house with her so he wouldn’t have to be home alone. Feeney added that she knew she was going to have a couple of drinks and she wanted him to be able to drive her home. Feeney said that she and Keith went to a friend’s house in Plainfield. She drove them in her 1999 Chrysler Sebring. Feeney stated that they got to Plainfield about 7:00 p.m. They only stayed for a short time and left between 7:30 and 8:00 p.m.. Keith told her that he hadn’t been drinking and so she allowed Keith to drive them home in her car. Feeney added that she hadn’t seen Keith drink that night and that in the short time she had known Keith she had not seen him drink alcohol.
On the way home, somewhere in Plainfield, Feeney recalled a police car coming up behind them and attempting to pull them over. She didn’t think Keith was driving badly and asked if he was going to stop. Keith didn’t stop and told her that, he didn’t stop for cops, and that he had no license. She said she was screaming at Keith to stop and let her out but he wouldn’t stop. At some point on the highway there were police cars pulling in front and trying to block them in but Keith was swerving around and hitting the guardrails, doing whatever he had to do to get away. She said the police hit the front and back of the car and they spun out. Keith was trying to back up to get away but the police were at both of their windows. Feeney only remembered one Trooper yelling at her and another one pulling Keith out of his door. Feeney added that she was in a state of shock and didn’t remember everything that happened, and that she had her eyes closed pretty much the entire time they were on the highway and after they had crashed into the guardrail.
On Tuesday, January 14, 2014, at approximately 6:45 p.m., Detective Meehan along with Detective Dwyer interviewed Jennifer Feeney regarding the incident of January 11, 2014. The interview was conducted in an interview room at State Police Troop E in Montville. This investigator also used a digital audio recorder during the interview. In summary Jennifer Feeney indicated the following:
On Saturday, January 11, 2014, at about 4:30 p.m. she and Keith Corey went to a friend’s house in Plainfield. She stated they were there for about an hour and a half and she had consumed a few beers. She wasn’t with Keith the entire time and didn’t see Keith drink any alcohol or do any drugs. Keith had told her on several occasions that because he was on parole and took random urine tests, he couldn’t drink or do drugs. Feeney stated that she was intoxicated and as a result allowed Keith to drive them home in her car, a 1999 Chrysler Sebring convertible.
On the way home, somewhere in Plainfield, Feeney recalled a police car coming up behind them and attempting to pull them over. She thought Keith was driving “okay” and wasn’t sure why he was being stopped. Keith didn’t stop and told Feeney that, he doesn’t stop for cops. As the police were chasing them, she said she was screaming at Keith to stop, but he just kept telling her to shut up and that he wasn’t going to stop, because he didn’t have a license and was on parole. Feeney remembered being in the right lane on I-395 South and there being police cars on the left, front and behind, blocking them in. When Keith didn’t stop, one of the police cars spun them out and they crashed. They ended up facing the wrong way with the passenger side of the car against the guardrail. Keith began driving forward and then in reverse trying to get away, but he kept crashing into and actually pushing the police cars. Feeney stated Keith gave up and put his hands up and said over and over that he was on parole. A Trooper came to her side of the car and helped her out through the window.
Feeney stated that while Keith was ramming the police cars she couldn’t remember when the Troopers actually got out and approached them, only that there was a Trooper at her window. She could not recall any specific commands given by the Troopers other than the Troopers telling Keith to get out of the car. She never heard anything that sounded like a bang or a gunshot. She was unaware that Keith had been shot until she saw it on the news. Feeney never saw any of the Troopers with their guns out.
On January 27, 2014, Detectives Meehan and Dwyer were issued a search and seizure warrant to obtain the medical records for Keith Corey’s treatment at the William W. Backus Hospital. Detective Dwyer received a certified copy of the medical records on that same day. The records indicated that Corey suffered a through and through gunshot wound to his right leg and left facial abrasions. A toxicology screen detected an ethyl alcohol level of 203 mg/dL. Dr. Robert Powers of the State of Connecticut Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection Toxicology Lab provided conversion documents indicating that the serum alcohol level of 203 mg/dL was equivalent to an alcohol concentration of 0.175%. The alcohol concentration was over twice the legal limit for operating a motor vehicle of 0.08%.
Detective Meehan telephoned Corrigan-Radgowski Correctional on January 30, 2014, attempting to set up an interview with Keith Corey. Correction staff advised Corey and he indicated that he would be willing to talk to investigators, however, he was waiting for his family to retain a lawyer before he would meet. On February 26, 2014, Corey advised Detective Meehan through a Correction staff telephone call that he was not going to be speaking with any investigators.
On January 29, 2014, Sergeant Blanchette submitted a supplemental report. The following is a synopsis of the report:
On January 11, 2014, Sergeant Blanchette was working as the evening shift supervisor at Troop E. While at Troop E, Sergeant Blanchette heard a series of radio broadcasts involving Trooper Sumner attempting to stop a 1999 Chrysler Sebring, however the operator was refusing to stop. The broadcasts indicated that a 911 caller reported that the Chrysler operating erratically. Sergeant Blanchette then began to monitor and supervise the pursuit. Sergeant Blanchette left Troop E and responded to the area of the pursuit. While traveling on I-395 South the Chrysler was in the right lane and Trooper Sumner positioned his cruiser in the right lane directly ahead, Trooper Abely positioned his cruiser in the left lane directly beside and Sergeant Blanchette was directly behind. The cruisers were going to make another effort to box-in and slow the Chrysler, but the operator swerved sharply to the left, intentionally striking the front of Trooper Abely’s cruiser. The Chrysler then lost control on the wet roadway and came to an uncontrolled final rest facing northbound after impacting the center beam guide rail. Almost immediately after impact, the Chrysler accelerated and struck Trooper Fahey’s cruiser in an attempt to flee, then drove in reverse. Trooper Fahey then struck the front of the Chrysler and Trooper Abely backed into the driver’s door, both in what appeared to be attempts to get the vehicle to stop. Believing that the chase had ended, Troopers exited their cruisers and yelled commands to the operator to “show us your hands.” As Sergeant Blanchette exited his cruiser he observed Trooper Fahey standing at the Chrysler’s driver’s window with his service weapon drawn and he was yelling verbal commands to the operator. Trooper Abely was approaching the Chrysler from the left side and Trooper Duffy from the front. The Chrysler operator was shifting the vehicle from forward to reverse and accelerating rapidly, attempting to strike the cruisers and move them out of the way so he could flee. While accelerating forward Sergeant Blanchette saw the Chrysler strike Trooper Fahey’s cruiser with enough force that Trooper Duffy had to jump out of the way to avoid being struck. Trooper Fahey then discharged a round from his service weapon at the Chrysler operator, which appeared to have no effect. The operator backed up, still attempting to flee and nearly struck Trooper Abely at which time Sergeant Blanchette was concerned that Trooper Abely was going to be pinned between the Chrysler and his cruiser. The Chrysler operator was able to create enough room to back away from Trooper Abely’s cruiser and Trooper Fahey gave chase on foot. When the Chrysler operator realized he was blocked he again accelerated forward and hit the front of Trooper Fahey’s cruiser. Sergeant Blanchette held the Chrysler operator at gunpoint; giving verbal commands for him to “show your hands” while Trooper Fahey jumped over the trunk of Trooper Abely’s cruiser and approached the operator. Trooper Fahey grabbed the operator’s arm and Sergeant Blanchette stated that he re-holstered his weapon and helped Trooper Fahey, trying to remove the operator from the vehicle. The operator refused to take his hands off the steering wheel and was yelling “Fuck you mother fuckers” and other expletives to the Troopers. Sergeant Blanchette stated he could smell the odor of an alcoholic beverage from the operator. After an extended resistance, the Troopers were able to forcibly pry the operator’s hands from the steering wheel and remove him from the vehicle. The Troopers placed the operator on his back on the roadway at which time Sergeant Blanchette saw a small hole with blood on the operator’s pants near the right hip. Trooper Sumner attempted to place handcuffs on the operator, however he remained resistant to verbal commands and yelled “You fucking shot me.”
Troopers Fahey and Sumner eventually were able to control the operator enough to place handcuffs on him. Trooper Duffy removed the female passenger from the Chrysler, handcuffed her for her safety and placed her in his cruiser. Sergeant Blanchette described the female passenger as appearing intoxicated but non-resistant. Sergeant Blanchette checked with all of the Troopers and confirmed that none were injured. He contacted dispatch to advise them that shots were fired and requested an EMS and paramedic response. After Trooper Duffy secured the female passenger in his cruiser, he provided medical care to the operator. Sergeant Blanchette clearly saw an entrance and exit wound to the operator’s right hip after Trooper Duffy cut the pants to treat the injury. Also visible was an ankle bracelet which Sergeant Blanchette knew was worn by offenders released from prison so they could be monitored while on parole or probation. Sergeant Blanchette stated that he asked the operator why he ran and he responded, that he was on parole and couldn’t go back to jail. Sergeant Blanchette stated that he then seized Trooper Fahey’s service pistol and three additional magazines and secured them in the trunk of his vehicle. After the operator was transported to the hospital, Sergeant Blanchette instructed Trooper Duffy to secure the clothes he had cut off in a bag.
On February 10, 2014, Trooper Abely submitted a supplemental report. The following is a synopsis of the report:
On January 11, 2014, Trooper Abely was working the evening shift at Troop E. While on patrol, Trooper Abely heard a series of radio broadcasts in which dispatch advised Troopers to “be on the lookout” for an erratic Chrysler Sebring on Route 12 in Lisbon. Shortly thereafter he heard broadcasts that Trooper Sumner was attempting to stop a 1999 Chrysler Sebring, however the operator was refusing to stop. Trooper Abely then responded to the area of the pursuit. Trooper Abely joined several Troopers in pursuing and attempting to stop the Chrysler. While traveling on I-395 South the Chrysler was in the right lane and Trooper Sumner positioned his cruiser directly ahead, Trooper Abely positioned his cruiser on the left side of the Chrysler. The operator then swerved into Trooper Abely’s lane, intentionally striking the right front quarter panel of his cruiser. The Chrysler spun across both travel lanes and onto the grass median where it struck the guard rail. The Chrysler was facing north in the southbound median. The Chrysler continued forward and struck Trooper Fahey’s cruiser head on. Trooper Abely then backed his cruiser into the driver’s door of the Chrysler in an attempt to disable the vehicle against the guard rail. Trooper Abely then exited his cruiser and approached the Chrysler’s driver’s window with his service weapon drawn and saw the vehicle was occupied by a white male operator and a white female passenger. Trooper Fahey was already at the Chrysler’s driver’s door with his weapon drawn and was yelling verbal commands to the operator. Trooper Abely saw that the Chrysler operator was ignoring the commands and shifting the vehicle back and forth, attempting to flee the scene. The operator nearly hit Trooper Fahey, but instead, struck Fahey’s cruisers for a second time. Trooper Abely stated that he also felt as though he could have been struck by the vehicle as it continued to move back and forth. Trooper Fahey then discharged a round from his service weapon at the Chrysler operator, but the driver kept moving back and forth. Trooper Abely indicated that he thought he was going to be crushed between his cruiser and the back of the Chrysler. Trooper Fahey then jumped over the trunk of Abely’s cruiser and approached the Chrysler’s operator again. The operator ignored verbal commands and continued to resist being taken into custody by holding tightly onto the steering wheel. Trooper Abely opened the driver’s door and could smell the odor of an alcoholic beverage from the operator. Eventually Troopers Sumner and Fahey were able to forcibly remove him from the vehicle. Trooper Abely saw that the operator had a gunshot wound to the right hip and was wearing an ankle bracelet worn by persons on parole.
On February 13, 2014, Trooper Sumner submitted a supplemental report. The following is a synopsis of the report:
On January 11, 2014, at approximately 2013 hours dispatch advised Troopers Duffy and Sumner of an erratic operator being followed by a concerned citizen. The vehicle was a gray Chrysler bearing Connecticut registration 493-ZJO, being driven erratically on Route 12 towards the center of Jewett City. At the intersection of Route 12 and Route 138 Trooper Sumner observed the Chrysler and began to follow behind it. He observed a male operator and female passenger. Trooper Sumner observed the vehicle swerving, hitting the curb and having difficulty maintaining its lane. He then activated his lights and siren in an attempt to pull over the vehicle, however the operator refused to stop. Trooper Sumner was joined by several Troopers in pursuing and attempting to stop the Chrysler. While traveling on I-395 South the Chrysler slowed down. Troopers Sumner and Abely attempted to box-in the vehicle with the intent of stopping it. The Chrysler then accelerated into the breakdown lane, while the Troopers attempted to re-position their cruisers around the Chrysler. Trooper Sumner saw the operator swerve sharply to the left, intentionally striking the front of Trooper Abely’s cruiser. The impact caused Trooper Abely’s cruiser to hit the driver’s side of his cruiser and the Chrysler then spun onto the grass median striking the guard rail. The Chrysler ended up facing north in the southbound median. Trooper Sumner parked perpendicular across the left lane, exited his cruiser and approached the Chrysler. The Chrysler operator was accelerating, trying to get away and he intentionally struck Trooper Fahey’s cruiser head on. The operator then put the car in reverse and accelerated backwards, at which time Trooper Fahey maneuvered his cruiser forward and attempted to block the Chrysler. At this time Trooper Abely backed his cruiser into the driver’s door of the Chrysler in an attempt to prevent the vehicle from escaping. The impact caused the driver’s door window of the Chrysler to shatter, exposing the operator. Trooper Sumner stated that he and the other Troopers converged on the Chrysler on foot and were yelling commands to the operator to “show me your hands.” As Trooper Sumner approached the rear of Trooper Abely’s cruiser Trooper Fahey was already at the Chrysler’s driver’s window with his weapon drawn and was yelling commands to the operator to, stop or he would shoot. Trooper Sumner saw that the Chrysler operator was ignoring the commands and shifting the vehicle back and forth, attempting to flee the scene. Trooper Sumner saw there was a gap between the median guard rail and so he ran back to his cruiser to close the gap. As he neared his cruiser, Trooper Sumner looked back over his shoulder and saw the Chrysler gain traction and violently strike the front of Trooper Fahey’s cruiser. Trooper Duffy jumped out of the path of the vehicle and ran for cover behind Trooper Fahey’s cruiser. It was at this time that Trooper Fahey discharged a round from his service weapon at the Chrysler’s operator. The operator didn’t seem to be affected by the gun shot and continued to accelerate trying to escape. Trooper Sumner indicated that he along with Trooper Fahey and Sergeant Blanchette tried to remove the operator through the open driver’s window, however the operator continued to ignore their verbal commands and continued to resist being taken into custody. Trooper Sumner could smell a strong and distinct odor of an alcoholic beverage emanating from the operator’s breath. They were eventually able to remove the operator and get him into custody at which time Trooper Duffy assisted in rendering medical attention. Trooper Sumner saw that the operator was wearing an ankle monitoring bracelet worn by offenders on parole or probation. Sergeant Blanchette asked the operator why he didn’t just stop and he replied that he was scared because he was on parole.
On February 15, 2014, Trooper Duffy submitted a supplemental report. The following is a synopsis of the report:
On January 11, 2014, at approximately 2013 hours, dispatch advised Trooper Duffy to conduct a patrol check of Route 12 in Griswold for an erratic operator in a gray Chrysler bearing Connecticut registration 493-ZJO. Near the intersection of Route 12 and Slater Road, Trooper Duffy observed the Chrysler, which was being followed by Trooper Sumner. Trooper Duffy then got behind Trooper Sumner. After following the Chrysler for a short distance, Trooper Sumner activated his lights and siren in an attempt to pull over the vehicle, however the operator refused to stop. While traveling on I-395 South Trooper Duffy was advised to stay in the rear of the pursuit with only his rear emergency lights activated to ensure no other motorist would approach the Chrysler. Troopers Sumner and Abely attempted to box-in the vehicle to slow its speed with the intent of stopping it. Trooper Sumner was ahead of the Chrysler and Trooper Abely was in the left lane alongside of the vehicle. The Chrysler operator then intentionally served to the left, striking the front of Trooper Abely’s cruiser. The Chrysler then spun out and struck the guard rail and was facing northbound. The Troopers then positioned their patrol cars in an attempt to block the Chrysler. Trooper Fahey had parked his cruiser against the front of the Chrysler and Trooper Abely backed his cruiser into the driver’s door of the Chrysler in an attempt to pin the vehicle against the guard rail. Trooper Duffy stated that he exited his vehicle and approached the Chrysler. The other Troopers were shouting orders to the operator to show his hands, however the operator ignored the commands and rocked the vehicle back and forth, using the car to ram the cruisers. Trooper Duffy approached the driver’s side with his duty weapon drawn and also gave verbal commands to the operator. The Chrysler operator then accelerated directly toward Trooper Duffy. As Trooper Duffy moved to the rear of Trooper Fahey’s cruiser to avoid the Chrysler, the Chrysler smashed the front of the cruiser pushing it back approximately three feet towards him. It was at this time that Trooper Fahey discharged a round from his service weapon at the Chrysler operator. Trooper Duffy indicated that as the other Troopers tried to remove the operator from the vehicle, he broke the passenger window and assisted in removing the passenger through the window. Trooper Duffy brought the female passenger to his cruiser. Trooper Duffy assisted by rendering medical attention to the operator.
On March 13, 2014, at approximately 10:30 a.m. Trooper Fahey submitted to an audio recorded interview. The interview was conducted in the presence of Trooper Fahey and Attorney Jeffrey Ment at the Law Offices of Rome McGuigan, 1 State Street, Hartford, Connecticut. The following is a synopsis of what Trooper Fahey reported in the interview:
On January 11, 2014, Trooper Fahey was working the evening shift at Troop E. While at Troop E, Trooper Fahey heard a series of radio broadcasts in which dispatch advised Troopers to “be on the lookout” for an erratic Chrysler Sebring on Route 12 in Libson. Shortly thereafter he heard broadcasts that Trooper Sumner was attempting to stop a 1999 Chrysler Sebring, however the operator was refusing to stop. Trooper Fahey then responded to the area of the pursuit. Trooper Fahey joined several Troopers in pursuing and attempting to stop the Chrysler. Trooper Fahey stated that numerous attempts were made to “box-in” the Chrysler and bring it to a stop. Each time, the operator swerved at the cruisers to avoid being blocked. While traveling on I-395 South the Chrysler was in the right lane and one Trooper positioned his cruiser directly ahead, and a second on the left side of the Chrysler. Trooper Fahey had his spot light on the Chrysler and Sergeant Blanchette was on his outside loud speaker ordering the operator to pull over. The other two cruisers had the Chrysler in the shoulder and were slowing when the operator tried to serve between two cars. The Chrysler hit the front of the second car and spun into the center median. Trooper Fahey did not believe that the operator was trying to hit the cruiser, it appeared that he was trying to make an evasive movement and misjudged the distance between the cars. The Chrysler spun across both travel lanes and onto the grass median where it struck the guard rail facing north. Trooper Fahey stated that he stopped his cruiser in front of the Chrysler so that the front ends of the two cars were facing each other. Trooper Fahey stated that he was looking directly at the operator and for a second the operator stopped and Trooper Fahey thought that this was going to be the end of the pursuit because the Chrysler was blocked. Trooper Fahey believed that the operator knew it was over and he was going to give up . Trooper Fahey then opened his door and was in the process of getting out when the Chrysler operator drove forward and hit the front of his cruiser. The operator then backed up in an attempt to escape. Trooper Fahey got back into his car and drove at the Chrysler and hit the front end in an attempt to block the Chrysler. Trooper Abely backed his cruiser into the driver’s side door of the Chrysler. Trooper Fahey exited his car and approached the driver’s side door of the Chrysler along with Trooper Abely. The driver’s window of the Chrysler was broken and the operator was looking right at Trooper Fahey as Trooper Fahey was yelling commands to the operator. Trooper Fahey couldn’t remember exactly what he had said. Trooper Fahey stated that he was looking directly at the operator and could hear the vehicles’ tires spinning and throwing rocks from the shoulder area as the operator was trying to escape. He stated that the other Troopers were approaching and he told the operator that, he was going to shoot him if he didn’t stop. Trooper Fahey stated that he saw a Trooper approaching the front of Fahey’s cruiser. He described this Trooper as “almost being in a bad spot” because the Chrysler operator was trying to escape. The Chrysler started to back up but was blocked by Trooper Sumner’s cruiser. Trooper Fahey told the operator repeatedly to stop or he was going to shoot. The operator then started to go forward, directly at Trooper Duffy. Trooper Fahey stated that at that point he knew Trooper Duffy was “in a bad spot” and again commanded the operator to stop or he was going to shoot. When the operator ignored him and kept driving toward Trooper Duffy, Fahey then shot once at the driver, striking him in the upper right leg area. Trooper Fahey stated that at the time he fired at the operator, he was about one or two feet away facing the operator. Trooper Fahey stated that he took the best shot he had, and that he had his sight on the operator’s torso area. Trooper Fahey stated he only fired one shot because after that first shot the car was past him and he had no angle at the operator. Trooper Fahey didn’t realize he had actually shot the operator until they got him out of the car and saw the hole in his pants by the right hip.
Section 53a-22 (c) of the General Statutes permits a police officer to use deadly physical force upon another person when he reasonably believes such to be necessary to defend himself or a third person from the use or imminent use of deadly physical force. The test to determine reasonableness is both subjective and objective. First, the officer must believe that the use of deadly force is necessary to defend himself or another from the imminent use of deadly physical force. Second, the belief must be objectively reasonable. See State v. Smith , 73 Conn. App. 173, cert. denied, 262 Conn. 923 (2002). The burden is on the state to disprove beyond a reasonable doubt the elements of self-defense as set forth in §53a-22. State v. Smith , supra, 73 Conn. App. at 185-86.
The test is not whether it was in fact necessary for the officer to use deadly physical force in order to defend against the imminent use of deadly physical force. The test is whether the officer believed it was necessary to use deadly physical force and whether such belief was objectively reasonable, based on the facts and circumstances known to the police officer at the time the decision to use deadly force was made. See State v. Silveira , 198 Conn. 454 (1986), State v. Adams , 52 Conn. App. 643 (1999).
The United States Supreme Court has explained this test in a civil rights case.
“The ‘reasonableness’ of a particular use of force must be judged from the perspective of a reasonable officer on scene rather than with the 20/20 vision of hindsight. . .The calculus of reasonableness must embody allowance of the fact that police officers are often forced to make split-second decisions - in circumstances that are tense, uncertain, and rapidly evolving - about the amount of force that is necessary in a particular situation.” Graham v. Connor , 490 U.S. 386 (1989).
“The appropriate inquiry is whether the officers acted reasonably, not whether they had less intrusive alternatives available to them.” Scott v. Henrich , 39 F.3d. 912, 915 (9 th Cir. 1992). “Under the circumstances at the moment when the [shot] was fired a reasonable police officer could have concluded that [Corey] was intent on resuming his flight and that if allowed to do so, he would have posed a deadly threat for the [Troopers and] others on the road.” Plumhoff v. Rickard , ______ U.S. _______, 134 S.Ct. 2012, 2022, 188 L.Ed.2d 1056 (2014).
Based upon the preceding facts and circumstance and the applicable law found in Connecticut General Statutes §53a-22 the undersigned finds that Trooper Bryan Fahey reasonably believed that the use of deadly physical force was necessary to defend himself and others from the use of deadly physical force. The use of deadly physical force was, therefore, appropriate.
I would like to thank the Connecticut State Police Central District Major Crime Squad and the State Police Forensic Science Laboratory for their roles in this investigation. In addition, I would like to thank the Connecticut State Police Department for its assistance and cooperation.
No further action is to be taken by the Division of Criminal Justice as a result of this incident.
Dated at New London, Connecticut this 20 th day of November, 2014.
MICHAEL L. REGAN
NEW LONDON JUDICIAL DISTRICT