Two state troopers have been arrested and charged with kidnapping, assault and additional charges after a man reported that one of the troopers beat him for hours in the other trooper’s Wethersfield home, hit him with a nightstick and made him kneel on a metal grater, according to court documents.
Troopers Rupert Laird, 30, of Manchester, and Xavier Cruz, 30, of Wethersfield, were arrested on Tuesday on six counts, including with kidnapping in the first degree with a firearm, deprivation of rights by force of threat, assault second degree with a firearm and conspiracy. State police said both men have been suspended.
According to court paper work, Laird is accused of brutally beating the man because the victim touched a woman the state trooper knows. The alleged assault happened at Cruz’s Wethersfield home when both state troopers were off-duty.
Police began investigating on Monday, Feb. 20 after a nurse from Saint Francis Hospital reported that a man arrived there to be treated and said he’d been beaten on Saturday.
After speaking with the nurse, police officers met with the victim, who was in pain and covered in dark purple bruises on his chest, back, thighs, stomach and buttocks, according to court documents.
When police spoke with the victim, he provided a detailed description of the alleged attack and said Laird punched him at least 20 times, kicked him as many times and struck him with a police baton at least 15 times.
The night started at Club Karma, on Airport Road, the victim said. He’d been there with Cruz and other people, drinking and smoking hookahs. After the club closed, the group went to Cruz’s house, where they had more drinks, according to the arrest warrant application.
At one point, the victim flirted with a woman and grabbed her buttocks. When he asked if she minded, she said, “no,” according to the victim.
The woman had a different version of events. When police spoke with her, she said the man was more aggressive. She relayed to officers that she felt the man crossed the line and said she told him he was bothering her, court documents state.
The man who accused Laird of the assault said he left Cruz’s early Saturday morning but returned around 8 a.m. because his girlfriend locked him out of the house.
When he got back to Cruz’s, Laird showed up and blocked him in the driveway, the victim told police.
Inside the house, Laird allegedly pulled a gun, pointed it at the victim and said, “You know I can kill you, right?” according to the victim.
“You know what, I’m not even going to do this because I’m a cop, but I’ve got connections,” Laird said, according to the victim. “If I was going to kill you no one would find your body,” he added.
After putting the gun on a shelf, Laird grabbed a police baton and told the victim he would “pay” for touching the woman, according to police documents.
Then Laird said, “We’re gonna settle this the old school way” and ordered the victim to take off his glasses and to strip down to his underwear, according to the victim, who said he did what he was told out of fear.
The victim went on to tell police that Laird bashed him into sheetrock, forced him to his knees and kicked him in the chest, hit his thighs and buttocks with the police baton and made him kneel on a metal grater.
During the alleged beating, Laird got winded and took breaks to drink beer. At one point he whispered, “You don’t think this is the first time I’ve done this?” the victim told police.
After the beating, Laird handed napkins to the victim and ordered him to clean up the blood that was splattered all over the floor, on the wall and on the refrigerator, according to the victim.
When he was done clearing, Laird told Cruz to take video.
Then Laird hit the victim again twice with the baton, forcing him to fall down, and took photos of the victim’s license, the man told police.
Before leaving, Laird warned the man not to tell people what happened and instead say the bruises were from being drunk and falling down, court paperwork says.
When police spoke with Cruz, he wasn’t willing to speak about what happened in his house, according to the court paperwork. While in the basement, investigators noticed what appeared to be drops of blood, including on the carpet and on the refrigerator.
Cruz turned himself in to police on Monday night and Laird turned himself in on Tuesday morning, according to Wethersfield police.
Cruz was released last night after posting $750,000 bond and Laird is due in court today.
Both state troopers have been arrested on six counts and charged with kidnapping in the first degree with a firearm, deprivation of rights by force of threat, assault in the second degree with a firearm, conspiracy and coercion. Cruz was released last night after posting $750,000 bond.
Laird and Cruz have been placed under house arrest and were ordered to surrender their firearms, permits to carry and passports.
Laird's attorney called him an "asset to the community."
State police said in a statement that the department holds all members accountable.
"Immediately upon learning of the egregious conduct of two off-duty state troopers, Tpr. Rupert Laird, Troop C-Tolland, and Tpr. Xavier Cruz, Troop K-Colchester, the Connecticut State Police suspended their police powers, confiscated their weapons, badges and patrol vehicles, and opened its own administrative inquiry. Both troopers are suspended pending the outcome of the proceedings," a statement from state police says.
The police union also issued a statement, “The members of the Connecticut State Police Union strive to uphold the high standards of professionalism and public service that each of our members swore to uphold when they became Connecticut State Troopers. While we are disappointed to learn that two State Troopers have been the subject of a criminal investigation, all of the facts and circumstances involving the alleged incident have yet to be reported and that the public should not rush to judgment based on headlines alone. Regardless of the outcome of the cases against these two State Troopers, it is important to remember that State Troopers risk their lives to protect the public and that for every report like this, there are hundreds of examples of heroism and public service by the members of our Union."
Wethersfield police are the lead investigators, according to state police.