Counts filed against Brattleboro officers involved in last summer's Taser incident


Thursday, March 13
BRATTLEBORO - In a complaint filed today in U.S. District Court, an attorney for two nonviolent protesters stunned with Tasers in July 2007 have filed six counts against the five Brattleboro police officers involved in the incident. Those counts range from false imprisonment to assault and battery to the use of excessive force.

The suit was filed in the Vermont district court because attorney David Sleigh, of Sleigh and Williams in St. Johnsbury, has contended the five police officers deprived Jonathan Crowell and Samantha Kilmurray of their civil rights when they stunned the pair for refusing to leave private property on July 24, 2007.

The five officers named are Lts. Robert Kirkpatrick, Chuck Aleck and Jeremy Evans, Det. Michael Gorman and Officer Peter DiMarino.

Other counts in the complaint include outrageous conduct, assault and battery, failure to prevent a violation of civil rights, unlawful arrest and conspiracy.

On the afternoon of July 23, police were called to a piece of property owned by Cheshire Oil. A group of 15 to 20 protesters planted flowers and erected signs in response to a rumor that Cheshire Oil was planning a truck stop for the site, which sits on the corner of Putney and Black Mountain Roads.

While the owners, James Robertson, of Keene, N.H, and his family, have talked about development of the 13-acre parcel into a travel center, no applications have been filed with Brattleboro's planning department.

After contacting the owners about the trespass, police informed the protesters they had one hour to leave the property.

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Later that day, police returned to the parcel only to find the protesters had not heeded their order to leave.

Police again talked to the owners of the property, who said the protesters could remain on the property through the night, adding they should be evicted the following morning.

At 7 a.m. on July 24, police visited the site to find two remaining protesters, Crowell and Kilmurray, had chained themselves to a barrel full of sand, which is meant to stymie law enforcement efforts to remove protesters.

The officers informed Crowell and Kilmurray if they refused to leave the property, they would be stunned with Tasers.

When the pair refused to comply with the police order, they were stunned until they agreed to unlock themselves.

The pair were arrested and cited for unlawful trespass and disorderly conduct.

While the disorderly conduct charges were dropped, Kilmurray was entered into a diversion program for her charge of unlawful trespassing. Crowell is requesting a jury trial in the trespassing charges filed against him.

Read more in Friday's Reformer.


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