Preliminary review finds police did not use excessive force

Preliminary review finds police did not use excessive force

Suspect 'continued fighting, kicking and swinging his head'

PAWTUCKET - An initial review has found that officers from the Pawtucket Police Department did not use excessive force when they took city resident Lloyd Mumford Jr. into their custody on Jan. 30, hitting him with a nightstick and spraying him in the face with pepper spray in the process.

The incident was caught on video by a resident and reported last week in The Breeze.

"I can tell you that my preliminary review of the video, the actual report by officers at the scene and the excessive force policy leads me to believe that the officers acted appropriately and prudently," said Tony Pires, public safety director for the city.

Officials have provided copies of both the police report on the incident and a copy of the department's use of force policy, which gives officers broad discretion to use batons and pepper spray if they feel it's necessary. Officers say Mumford head-butted and kicked them prior to the event depicted in the video, which can be seen here:

The preliminary review of this case may not be the final determination in the case, said Pires, as police will send the results of their internal investigation to the Office of the Attorney General for further review.

The video in question shows Mumford, who was already being held against a police car near Tolman High School, get hit in the legs with an expandable baton. Three officers then get on top of him and one kneels near his head/neck and proceeds to spray him with pepper spray.

A narrative by Patrolman Jared Boudreault states that he and another officer, Joseph Skahan, responded to 66 Spring St. for a report of a male throwing items out of a window. They were informed that Mumford had already left and were then told by dispatch that he was wanted on a domestic charge.

Boudreault states that officers found Mumford walking in the parking lot of D'Angelo at the intersection of Broadway and Exchange Street. Mumford quickened his pace and "began looking around for a way to flee," according to the report.

After ordering Mumford to stop and placing him in handcuffs, said Boudreault, Mumford head-butted Skahan in the face, knocking him backward. He then allegedly kicked Boudreault in the groin.

"Officer Skahan and I then ordered him to the ground and he began trying to use his shoulders and head to knock us out of the way so he could escape," writes Boudreault. "He continued fighting, kicking and swinging his head, striking us as we attempted to take him to the ground."

According to Boudreault, he and Skahan were unable to take Mumford down, and since he was attempting to escape and resist arrest, they both struck Mumford with a "closed fist" to the head, "attempting to distract him and gain compliance."

"This did not work so I struck Mumford's legs several times with my baton, which had the desired effect and we were able to take him to the ground," states Boudreault in his report. "Once on the ground, Mumford continued to struggle and prevent us from gaining control of him so we could search him and place him in the cruiser. I then administered a short burst of pepper spray to his facial area, which had no effect."

After receiving help from other officers getting Mumford into the cruiser, Boudreault claims Mumford kicked the doors and windows of the car. He continued to scream at and threaten officers, saying "he was going to kill us when we took the handcuffs off him." Mumford later stated that he fought police "to make getting arrested worth his while," states the report.

Skahan's account of the incident is very similar to Boudreault's.

Police say they found two small plastic bags of heroin on Mumford, who was later charged with possession of a controlled substance, vandalism/domestic, simple assault, disorderly conduct, resisting arrest, and disorderly conduct/domestic.