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The Cheshire Police Department released the video recording of an altercation that occurred between an officer and a former Town Council candidate on Wednesday in an effort to counter claims made that the officer used excessive force.
Michael Evans, 47, of Cheshire, who ran as an at-large Democratic candidate for the Town Council last fall, was arrested at approximately 12:38 a.m. on Feb. 25 and charged with driving while intoxicated and failure to drive right, after his vehicle crashed into a guard rail on South Meriden Road. He was later charged with interfering with a police officer.
After being transported to the Cheshire Police Department for processing, Evans claims he was assaulted when an officer threw him to the ground and handcuffed him behind his back, causing a cut to open up on the bridge of his nose.
“I said that I wanted to see the officer's badge,” explained Evans, on Tuesday. “I said that I was going to call (Town Manager) Michael Milone and tell him how I was being treated. The next thing I know, I was slammed down, handcuffed behind my back, and I was bleeding.”
The video, released to local news outlets by the department, shows Evans being led out of a holding cell at the station by an officer, ushering him towards the bathroom. Evans, walking in front of the officer, is seen going out of the frame and then returning a moment later, when he begins to point his finger at the officer while moving towards him.
No audio is provided so it is not known what was said by either party.
As Evans moves closer, the officer grabs his wrist and attempts to subdue him, pushing Evans' arms above his head as he struggles. A second officer can then be seen coming to assist, and Evans is taken down to the ground and handcuffed.
Police Chief Michael Cruess believes that the tape shows that it was Evans who had become “physically aggressive” towards one of the officers and that, as the result of “his actions,” he was restrained.
“I, along with other supervisory members of the Cheshire Police Department, have reviewed the recordings of this incident. Upon review, I believe that the officers used the appropriate amount of force to subdue Mr. Evans,” said Cruess. “I also believe the officers showed a great amount of restraint in dealing with Mr. Evans. This is a testament to their training and professionalism.”
Evans, however, denied on Tuesday that he had become physical with the officer and called the police claims “preposterous.”
“I catergorically deny that,” he said. As of Wednesday, it appears that Evans had not seen the tape of the altercation.
In addition to the physical incident at the department, Evans claims that his overall treatment by officers was poor, alleging that he was denied the opportunity to call his wife several times and that, after an initial breathalizer test failed to produce a result, was denied the chance to re-take the test sometime later.
At one point, Evans stated that he told officers, “I bet you treated Steven Hayes better when he was here then you're treating me.”
However, Police Lt. Jay Markella, who also reviewed the tape, denied Evans's suggestion that he was denied the opportunity to call his wife. In fact, Markella states that Evans can be seen making two phone calls on the video recording of his time at the department, one of which was made at 12:55 a.m. and another at approximately 1:15 a.m. Markella did not reveal to whom Evans placed those calls.
In regards to the breathalizer test, Markella suggested that officers may have recorded that Evans refused to take the test if they determined he was purposely not breathing into the device properly.
Evans stated that he spoke with an attorney on Sunday and was planning to meet with him on Thursday to discuss whether to move forward with a lawsuit. As of Tuesday, he had not decided what his next course of action would be.
“I am tired of the publicity of this, already,” he admitted.