Bridgeport Police Officer Charged with Federal Civil Rights Violation
Deirdre M, Daly, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, and Patricia M. Ferrick, Special Agent in Charge of the New Haven Division of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, today announced that a federal grand jury sitting in New Haven has returned an indictment charging Bridgeport Police officer CLIVE HIGGINS with violating an individual’s civil rights by using unreasonable force during the course of an arrest.
The indictment was returned yesterday. HIGGINS, 48, is expected to appear today at 2:30 p.m. before U.S. Magistrate Judge Joan G. Margolis in New Haven.
As alleged in the indictment, HIGGINS has been an officer with the Bridgeport Police Department since 2002. On May 20, 2011, two other Bridgeport Police officers engaged in a pursuit of a van driven by an individual who was suspected of having a firearm. During the vehicle pursuit, HIGGINS heard radio transmissions indicating the pursuing officers were seeking back-up. As the pursuit approached Beardsley Park and the sector HIGGINS was assigned, HIGGINS responded. The vehicle pursuit ended in an open field in Beardsley Park prior to HIGGINS’s arrival. The individual fled from the van and was pursued a short distance by the two officers. One of the officers deployed his department-issued Taser and effectively incapacitated the individual. HIGGINS then arrived at the scene, exited his police cruiser, approached the individual who was lying prone on the ground, and kicked him in the head and neck area.
If convicted, HIGGINS faces a maximum term of imprisonment of 10 years and a fine of up to $250,000.
This matter is being investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Anastasia E. King and David E. Novick.
U.S. Attorney Daly stressed that an indictment is not evidence of guilt. Charges are only allegations, and a defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.