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We've been with you throughout the pandemic, the vaccinations and the reopening of schools, businesses and communities. There's never been more of a need for the kind of local, independent and unbiased journalism that The Day produces. Please support our work by subscribing today. Published August Montville — Roscoe Washington knows he was wrong to drive away from a town police officer who pulled him over on Route five years ago for following the officer's cruiser too closely.
Washington, a year-old Black man and veteran with five years of service in the U. Navy, said he'd had enough. Polite, well spoken and exuding an air of sadness, Washington described, during a phone interview earlier this summer and an in-person meeting on the back porch of his mother's home in Oakdale Heights, years of negative encounters with Looking for a relationship with Montville man leading up to Jan.
The local and national protests that occurred this spring following the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis police custody gave Washington the courage to contact the Norwich branch of the NAACP and to call The Day to describe what he perceives as years of harassment by town police.
His reaction on that January day sounded similar to that of Eric Garner, a Black man who ended up dead a year earlier, after being placed in a chokehold when he told police, "This ends today," after being stopped by New York City police for selling loose cigarettes. The seemingly routine encounter between Washington and town police escalated into a standoff in his backyard and became a life-changing event for him and his family. Pulled over by Officer Michael Pelletier, Washington decided to drive to his house, a little over a mile away, so his family could witness the stop.
The Montville police report indicates that Washington cursed at Pelletier and nearly struck him while driving away, then led police on a pursuit while driving up to 60 mph. The report indicates he nearly struck two cruisers and illegally passed three vehicles. The pursuit was called off by state police, but town and state officers followed Washington as he drove to his family home and into the backyard.
Police said Washington tried to strike officers with his car as they attempted to take him into custody. Washington contended he was scared of being killed and backed his car up while waiting for his mother to come home and tell him what to do. He was tased, pepper sprayed and arrested at gunpoint. His sister Monique, who frantically yelled advice to him from inside the house, was charged with interfering with police.
His mother, who drove up during the incident, said she was injured when a police officer closed her car door on her leg. Washington ended up pleading guilty to attempted assault on a public safety officer, a felony, and to first-degree reckless endangerment and reckless driving.
He received a suspended prison sentence and three years of probation. Records provided by Washington's mother, Sandra Washington, and by town police through a Freedom of Information request show how years of accumulating frustration led to the crescendo of trauma that took place that day.
Washington experienced learning disabilities and was often depressed while attending schools in Waterford and Norwich Technical High School. As an adult, he worked at various jobs and had relationships with women, but none of them held. He continued to suffer from depression, anxiety and panic attacks.
He suffered a stroke inand a month after the police encounter was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, a neurological condition the family's physician confirmed can impair judgment. Washington was identified by police in as someone who was "very anti law enforcement" after, a dispatch report indicates, he drove past an officer in his silver Audi and "flipped off" the officer for no reason.
Washington had been pulled over for traffic infractions about a dozen times leading up to the event. During a stop, police said they found him in possession of "a large amount of hashish and marijuana. Over the years, Washington's mother, a retired state worker and his fiercest advocate, called police on him twice. Police reports indicate she called once to report that he pushed her down during an argument, and another time for a verbal dispute that occurred while he was moving his belongings out of the home. He was not prosecuted in those incidents.
Washington was pulled over as recently as July 7,on a driving infraction charge. Living in a town where census records indicate that just 5.
But town Mayor Ronald K. McDaniel, who met with Sandra Washington following the incident, says that has nothing to do with it. He said the incident was reviewed by state police, who determined officers acted appropriately, and that town police are well-trained in de-escalating situations and interacting with people in crisis. Police say the way people react during an encounter determines the outcome, but advocates for people of color say police need a better understanding of the trauma that le to such reactions. Shiela Hayes, president of the Norwich NAACP, said the branch is gathering paperwork with the possibility of assisting Washington with applying for a pardon.
She said she understands the stresses that police face. Hayes also knows all too well why Washington reacted the way he did, and said she finds it concerning if somebody says they don't understand. For a young man, they're going to be on edge. I'm not saying by every cop, but all it takes is one encounter, and that's what's going to traumatize you. She said the Police ability Act that was just passed by the General Assembly includes more training for officers around the issues of trauma and mental health issues and for providing police access to people who are trained in those fields.
Hayes said what happened with Montville police was unfortunate but she is more concerned about whether Washington, and other Black men, are treated equitably by the court system. Niantic attorney Ronald F. Stevens studied the Montville standoff, which was handled by another attorney, while representing Washington in the domestic incident.
My personal opinion of him is that I don't think he is aggressive. I think he is more concerned and fearful. Stevens said that in the domestic case, he was able to convince prosecutor Christa L. Baker that Washington is "not the bad person that police portray him to be. And the system didn't really handle him well until the end, when finally we gave the state's attorney enough information where she made an intelligent and informed decision.
Editor's Note: This version includes Mr. Washington's service in the U. Navy, which was ommitted in the earlier version, and corrects the schools he attended. City police arrested a Looking for a relationship with Montville man woman Sunday night after they say she shot her husband in the lower right leg during an argument. Motorcyclist taken to hospital after striking car in Stonington Police said a motorcyclist was taken to the hospital with non life-threatening injuries after striking a car at the intersection of Pequot Trail and North Main Street just before 10 p.
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Unexpected discoveries on Make Music Day. Support Local News. Black Montville man has regrettable history with town police. Roscoe Washington in his backyard garden Thursday, Aug. Get the weekly rundown. up to receive our weekly Legal Insider newsletter. Loading comment count Commenting is closed. Comment thre are monitored for 48 hours after publication and then closed.
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