DANBURY, Conn. — A 15-year Danbury police force veteran was arrested on a charge of kicking a handcuffed suspect in the head who had viciously attacked another Danbury officer, according to the arrest warrant.
Officer David Williams, 43, turned himself in Tuesday and was charged with second-degree breach of peace after "using unnecessary force against a handcuffed suspect" on July 29, 2016, Danbury police said in a statement.
The arrest warrant released by Connecticut State Police after a lengthy investigation detailed the incident. Eight police cruiser dash-cams and four surveillance cameras captured much of what happened late that night when Pierre Elhayek, 20, of Danbury, attacked Officer Joe Pooler in a deli parking lot, state police said.
In a statement to state police, Williams said that when he arrived at the scene after other officers, he saw "a badly beaten officer and it took me a minute to recognize him as Joseph Pooler because his face was so swollen and bloody."
Williams said he was so shocked by the condition of Pooler, who had been an academy classmate and colleague for 15 years, that he "suddenly felt as if I had lost my breath," state police said.
Williams told state police that when he walked over and kicked Elhayek, he did not intend to hurt him.
State police said the booking photos of Elhayek show no signs of injury from the kick and that there is "no documented evidence" of any injury. He had small cuts from struggling with officers during his arrest, state police said.
The Danbury Police Internal Affairs Division conducted a separate investigation that found Williams to be in violation of several department policies, police said.
A formal disciplinary hearing for Williams will be held, police said. Other departmental charges may be lodged, police said.
The president of the Danbury Police Union told the News-Times that he questioned the timing of the arrest , as the incident took place six months ago and there was no complaining party.
Williams was released on a written promise to appear in court. His court date is set for Thursday, Feb. 9.
The incident began after 11 p.m. July 29 when Elhayek lured Pooler out of his cruiser in the parking lot of Jimmy's Market on Germantown Road and launched a surprise attack on him, state police said.
Elhayek suddenly approached Pooler's cruiser and began banging and kicking the vehicle, police said. Believing Elhayek was trying to get his attention for help, Pooler got out of his cruiser, police said.
That’s when Elhayek attacked, striking Pooler on the side of the head and ear, police said. A violent struggle ensued, as Elhayek punched and kicked the officer in the head and body many times, police said.
Pooler was finally able to get back inside his cruiser and radio for assistance, as Elhayek continued to kick and bang on the cruiser, police said.
Several backup officers arrived and took Elhayek into custody after a brief struggle, police said. After Elhayek was handcuffed, officers put him on the ground to conduct a search, all while he was yelling "[expletive] you! [expletive] cops!" state police said. That is when Williams, who had just arrived, walked over and kicked the suspect with his left foot on the top of his head, state police said. The kick is shown on a dash-cam video, state police said.
Officers at the scene said Pooler's "face was covered in blood and that he was bleeding from the head," the warrant said. Pooler "appeared to be dazed and his face and jawline had visible swelling."
He was treated for a broken nose and jawbone as well as a concussion and other head injuries, police said.
They also said Elhayek, who has a history of unprovoked violence, later that night injured himself in his cell and was Tasered to get him under control to take him to Danbury Hospital for treatment.
Elhayek was charged with second-degree assault, assault on a police officer, interfering with a police officer, breach of peace and first-degree criminal mischief. He was held on $250,000 bond. Elhayek and his lawyer declined to cooperate with the state police investigation.
Danbury police released three 911 calls from that night after reports that there were delays in responding to the emergency calls.
Three separate calls by witnesses describe the assault. The first caller said Elhayek had Pooler pinned on the ground.
"The individual was assaulting the cop very viciously," the caller told police.