An East Hartford man who claims he was kidnapped and assaulted by two Connecticut State Police troopers has filed a civil lawsuit seeking $1 million in damages and to attach the assets of one of the troopers.
The lawsuit, filed Tuesday in Hartford Superior Court, includes a writ of attachment and/or garnishment against former State Trooper Xavier Cruz. In addition, the lawsuit cites negligence, false imprisonment, battery and intentional infliction of emotional distress against Cruz and former State Trooper Rupert Laird. Both troopers were fired last month and face separate criminal charges.
Andy Groher, attorney for Felipe Figueroa-Garcia, told the Connecticut Law Tribune Thursday he is going after Cruz’ assets. Laird, who rents a home in Manchester, doesn’t appear to have any assets, Groher said. Cruz owns a home in Wethersfield. “We are trying to preserve his assets to compensate Mr. Figueroa-Garcia,” said Groher, a principal with RisCassi & Davis in Hartford.
“Our goal is to get compensation for our client. I feel strongly that Mr. Figueroa-Garcia is entitled to be compensated for what they did to him,” Groher said. “We are suing both men for intentional acts and negligence. They caused significant injuries to Mr. Figueroa-Garcia.”
The troopers are alleged to have assaulted Figueroa-Garcia in February after he allegedly inappropriately touched a woman with whom Laird had a close relationship. Cruz and Laird, the warrant states, took Figueroa-Garcia into a basement and told him to strip to his underwear. There, police said, Laird head-butted him over the eye, drawing blood. Laird, police said, also ordered Figueroa-Garcia to get on his knees while he kicked and punched him. Laird, police said, punched Figueroa-Garcia more than 20 times, kicked him more than 20 times and struck him with a police baton about 15 times.
Figueroa-Garcia told police Cruz, who was present, did not take part in the beating, but also did not stop it.
Groher said Figueroa-Garcia, who works in a warehouse, “is still in treatment for his injuries. He has a lot of post traumatic stress issues related to this. He is afraid of these people and has issues with depression.”
On the criminal side, the former troopers are charged with first-degree kidnapping, deprivation of rights by force or threat and second-degree assault. They are scheduled to return to court Nov. 13.
Bloomfield solo practitioner Aaron Romano represents Laird.
“It’s safe to say this (lawsuit) was Felipe’s plan all along. This will, at the very least, enable all the parties to get a full and fair determination of the facts behind the case,” said Romano, who declined to elaborate.
Cruz is represented by Michael Blanchard of Suisman Shapiro Attorneys At Law in New London. Blanchard did not respond to a request for comment.