clearn.png
Sunday May 26th, 2019 1:11AM

Officer who killed teen was 'ticking time bomb,' lawyers say

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
  Contact Editor

WETHERSFIELD, Conn. (AP) — Relatives of a Connecticut man killed by a police officer last month called Wednesday for him to be arrested, while the family's lawyers described the officer as a "ticking time bomb" because of problems he had at another police department.

The family members, attorneys and NAACP officials gathered for a news conference outside the police department in Wethersfield, where officer Layau Eulizier shot 18-year-old Anthony Jose Vega Cruz on April 20. Police body camera and business surveillance videos show Eulizier firing through the front windshield of Vega Cruz's car as Vega Cruz drives at him while trying to flee a traffic stop.

Lawyers Ben Crump and Michael Jefferson said there was no reason for the officer to run in front of the car and create a dangerous situation. They also cited personnel records, first reported Monday by The Associated Press , that said Eulizier had problems handling stressful situations and making tactical mistakes when he was a Manchester officer from 2015 until 2018. The officer joined Wethersfield police in August.

"You have this ticking time bomb that they put on patrol here in this city and it begs the question, did they even look at his personnel file from his previous employer and, if so, then why would you hire this officer," said Crump, a Florida attorney known for representing the families of young black men killed by police.

"There is no reason, when you look at the history of this police officer, that he should have been on the street," Crump said. "It was foreseeable that this tragedy or one like it would occur."

Jefferson called Eulizier "a cowboy engaging in reckless behavior."

Vega Cruz was Hispanic, while Eulizier is black. Crump and Jefferson called the shooting another example of a national problem of police officers unjustifiably killing and wounding young people of color.

Wethersfield Police Chief James Cetran has declined to discuss details of the shooting, the records from Manchester police and the reasons Eulizier was hired.

"Out of respect for the process undertaken by the Connecticut State Police and the Hartford State's Attorney we will not have any comment on any aspect of this event until their work has been completed," Cetran said in an email to the AP on Wednesday.

Hartford State's Attorney Gail Hardy is leading an investigation of the shooting, while Eulizier is on paid leave pending the review under normal police protocols.

Eulizier has not returned messages seeking comment. His lawyer, Elliot Spector, said Tuesday that he believed deadly force was justified because the officer's life was in danger when the car came at him. Eulizier had to run in front of the car, when it stopped briefly, because he couldn't see the driver through the darkly tinted door windows, Spector said.

Spector also said the Manchester documents portray Eulizier unfairly. While Eulizier did make "some rookie mistakes," the records pertain only to a small fraction of Eulizier's time on the Manchester force and don't show all the good he did, Spector said. Eulizier is upset about what happened and wishes Vega Cruz had not driven at him, Spector said.

The Manchester records show that Eulizier had been told by several Manchester police officials that his conduct in some cases was unacceptable and that he had been sent to remedial training several times. The records describe several episodes in which Eulizier lost his composure with the public and made tactical mistakes.

"It is my opinion that Off. Eulizier needs immediate attention," Manchester Sgt. Jamie Taylor wrote in 2016. "I worry that if he does not vastly improve his work performance under stress he is going to hurt himself or someone else."

Former Manchester Police Chief Marc Montminy reprimanded Eulizier in January 2018 for improperly approaching a car during a traffic stop with his gun drawn and pointed at the driver. Montminy wrote to Eulizier that although department officials had made several attempts to help the officer correct performance problems, "we are still observing deficiencies."

Eulizier also was involved in a fatal police-involved shooting in 2015 that was ruled justified. A state trooper killed a man threatening the officers with a box cutter. Eulizier also fired at the man but missed.

Vega Cruz's sister, Kassandra Vega, said she wants justice for her "little brother."

"I want the cop to be in jail," she said. "There was no reason for him to shoot him."

  • Associated Categories: Associated Press (AP), AP Sports, AP Online Basketball, AP National News, Top U.S. News short headlines, College Sports, AP Sports - Men's College Basketball
© Copyright 2019 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
New York Senate OKs giving US House Trump state tax return
New York's Senate has approved legislation that would allow congressional investigators to get access to President Donald Trump's state tax returns, giving Democrats a potential end-run around the administration's refusal to disclose his federal returns
2:40PM ( 9 minutes ago )
The Latest: Marine recruit had no active shooter training
The student Marine recruit who helped subdue one of the Colorado school shooters gets regular physical workouts and leadership advice but never received military training for dealing with an active-shooter threat
2:40PM ( 9 minutes ago )
Officer who killed teen was 'ticking time bomb,' lawyers say
Relatives of a Connecticut man killed by a police officer last month are calling for the officer to be arrested and say he was a "ticking time bomb"
2:40PM ( 9 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
AP Source: Pegula relinquishes control of NWHL Buffalo team
AP Source: Pegula relinquishes control of NWHL Buffalo team
1:58PM ( 51 minutes ago )
GM in talks to sell shuttered factory in Lordstown, Ohio
General Motors negotiates sale of shuttered factory in Lordstown, Ohio, to a company that builds electric trucks
1:36PM ( 1 hour ago )
NCAA's new APR report shows athletes' scores remain steady
The NCAA's new Academic Progress Rate scores show college athletes are continuing to excel in the classroom
1:21PM ( 1 hour ago )
AP Sports
Millsap, Jokic spark Nuggets' 124-98 blowout of Blazers
Paul Millsap sparks the Denver Nuggets' 124-98 blowout of the Portland Trail Blazers. Nikola Jokic added 25 points and 19 rebounds as the Nuggets take a 3-2 lead in the best-of-7 series. Denver can win the series Thursday night in Portland.
2:47AM ( 12 hours ago )
Leonard scores 21, Raptors rout 76ers 125-89 to win Game 5
Leonard has 21 points and 13 rebounds, Siakam scores 25 as Raptors rout 76ers 125-89 in Game 5
12:21AM ( 14 hours ago )
Malone coaches Game 5 with heavy heart after school shooting
Nuggets coach Michael Malone coaching Game 5 against Portland with a heavy heart
10:47PM ( 16 hours ago )
AP Online Basketball
The Latest: Suspects not allowed handguns under state law
Authorities say the two students accused of killing a classmate in a suburban Denver charter school used at least two handguns
1:56PM ( 54 minutes ago )
At least 2 handguns used in school shooting near Columbine
Authorities say the two suspects in the Colorado school shooting used at least two handguns in the attack that killed one student and wounded eight others
1:43PM ( 1 hour ago )
The Latest: Columbine sends message of support to school
Columbine school officials are sending a message of support to a nearby school south of Denver that is the scene of the latest mass shooting
1:35PM ( 1 hour ago )
AP National News
Clemson, hoops assistant parts ways amid corruption trial
Clemson has parted ways with longtime assistant men's basketball coach Steve Smith, whose voice was on a federal wiretap played at the ongoing college corruption trial
9:22PM ( 4 days ago )
Clemson let's go hoops assistant coach amid corruption trial
Clemson has parted ways with longtime assistant men's basketball coach Steve Smith, whose voice was on a federal wiretap played at the ongoing college corruption trial
4:30PM ( 4 days ago )
Semenya case: A clash over ensuring an even playing field
The sports world is dealing with an issue that goes well beyond the fate of Olympic runner Caster Semenya: How to eliminate discrimination while ensuring that competitions are fair.
4:31PM ( 5 days ago )
College Sports
Ex-UConn basketball coach Kevin Ollie sues former assistant
Ex-UConn basketball coach Kevin Ollie sues former assistant, citing slander in NCAA comments
2:01PM ( 1 week ago )
Big payday for Beard after Texas Tech's run to title game
Texas Tech's Beard signs new contract with an average salary of $4.575 million through 2024-25 after run to title game
2:04PM ( 1 week ago )
College hoops champs Virginia won't be visiting White House
The Virginia Cavaliers, winners of this year's NCAA men's basketball tournament, say they won't be going to the White House to celebrate with President Donald Trump
7:53PM ( 1 week ago )
AP Sports - Men's College Basketball
New York Senate OKs giving US House Trump state tax return
New York's Senate has approved legislation that would allow congressional investigators to get access to President Donald Trump's state tax returns, giving Democrats a potential end-run around the administration's refusal to disclose his federal returns
2:40PM ( 9 minutes ago )
The Latest: Marine recruit had no active shooter training
The student Marine recruit who helped subdue one of the Colorado school shooters gets regular physical workouts and leadership advice but never received military training for dealing with an active-shooter threat
2:40PM ( 9 minutes ago )
California to ban pesticide said to harm child development
California plans to ban a widely used pesticide shown to harm the brains of babies
2:28PM ( 21 minutes ago )
California close to revising sex ed guidance for teachers
California is close to overhauling its guidance for teaching sex education in public schools, offering teachers a framework for talking to kindergartners about gender identity and discussing masturbation with middle-schoolers
2:16PM ( 33 minutes ago )
Wool wrap for royal baby suggests tradition will win out
Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor slept through his first press conference, but the merino wool wrap in which he snuggled said a lot about how his parents, Prince Harry and the former Meghan Markle, will approach his future
2:15PM ( 34 minutes ago )