Conn. Police Sergeant Charged With Assault After Attacking Suspect

A Hamden officer has been charged with assault after leaving his post and traveling to a neighboring city to attack a suspect.

Sergeant Michael Cirillo with the Hamden, Conecticut Police Department was charged with third-degree assault after he left his position on December 31, 2017 in a neighboring city and went to assault and threaten a suspect around 11:45 a.m, reported The New Haven Register.

Cirillo has been restricted to administrative duty.  “I don’t want to prejudge facts and circumstances,” Hamden Police Chief Thomas Wydra said. “I know what the optics are. The optics are bad.”

The North Haven PD was already on scene when Cirillo arrived. The bodycam video Sergeant Cirillo arrived and immediately attacked the Vincent Terrone by pushing him as well as putting him in a headlock.

The NH Register reported on the details of the police report of the incident:

Cirillo “immediately yelled at (the suspect) and grabbed (the suspect) by the shirt and chest area,” according to Spose’s report. “Cirillo pushed (the suspect) backward and both parties went to the ground with Cirillo on top of (the suspect).” Spose tried to get Cirillo off (the suspect) as Cirillo yelled at him about making threats to his family, according to the report.

Further, Sgt. Robert DePalma, who was assisting in the initial investigation, wrote in his report, “Cirillo walked past Spose, directly at (the suspect). Cirillo yelled at (the suspect), grabbed him by his upper torso and threw him to the ground. Cirillo continued to wrestle with (the suspect) and eventually placing (the man) into a head lock. Cirillo’s action were unprovoked.”

According to police reports, Terrone allegedly sent a text message to his girlfriend, threatening her parents and her sister, who is Cirillo’s wife, but Terrone says he had never seen the officer before and didn’t know him.

Terrone was taken to Yale-New Haven Hospital for evaluation and treatment of his lower back injury from the assault.

In the bodycam videos you can hear Sergeant Cirillo saying, “Sorry about all this man, it is what it is, we’ll go from here, right?” Which the other officer responded, “you do something dumb, you suffer the consequences, that’s how it works.”

Sergeant Cirillos was arrested for third-degree assault. He has a plea hearing scheduled for Jan. 18. Hamden Chief of Police Thomas J. Wydra released a statement on the arrest of Cirillo.

“I was immediately made aware of the arrest of Sergeant Michael Cirillo on December 31, 2017 by the North Haven Police Department. Based on the circumstances involved in the incident as I understand them, Sergeant Cirillo was promptly placed on modified duty and relived of all police powers and authority, pending the outcome of an internal investigation which was initiated forthwith,” Wydra said in a statement on Saturday. “

According to a police report, Terrone went to the North Haven police station Jan. 2 to request all charges associated with the incident be withdrawn.