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WARREN POLICE Mayor investigates brutality complaint



Published: Fri, June 29, 2001 @ 12:00 a.m.



The police chief noted that a formal complaint has not been filed.

By PEGGY SINKOVICH

VINDICATOR TRUMBULL STAFF

WARREN -- Mayor Hank Angelo says he is going to investigate a city man's complaint that he was beaten by police officers.

Angelo said he and Fred Harris, the city's safety-service director, met Thursday with the parents of Lamont Murray, 29, and officials with the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People to discuss the allegations.

Lucille and Gehrig Murray said they met with the officials because their son is still recovering from his injuries.

Lamont Murray said police used a pepper spray on him and beat him around 6 p.m. Monday after the car in which he was riding was pulled over on a routine traffic stop. Lamont Murray said he had to get 20 staples in his head to close a cut caused by police.

"I also have asthma, and being pepper sprayed and knocked on the ground didn't help matters," he said.

The mayor said he did not include the police officers or the police chief in the meeting, but he is planning to meet with the chief today to discuss the matter further.

No formal complaint: Police Chief John Mandopoulos said he does not know why he was not asked to attend the session and noted that his department is not investigating the allegations because Murray has not filed a written complaint.

"If a citizen feels a police officer has committed a misconduct, they can come and fill out a complaint, and that has not been done," the chief said. "Once the report is turned in, then we will investigate."

Angelo said he doesn't need the complaint to begin looking into the matter, however.

Lucille Murray says she and her son plan to file the written complaint in the next few days.

Report: The police report says that Sgt. Robert Massucci and patrol officer David Weber stopped the car on Niles Road around 6 p.m.

Murray, a passenger, was asked to get out of the car but refused, the report says. The report also says that Murray punched one of the officers in the chest. A brief struggle ensued, and the officers eventually subdued him.

Massucci said that neither he nor Weber used excessive force. Weber could not be reached to comment.

"I never punched anyone," Lamont Murray said. "They started to grab me to get out of the car, and I wouldn't because there was no reason for me to get out of the car. They stopped us for no reason. My aunt was driving. We were coming back from shopping at the mall. They had no reason to search the car or me."

Murray said several of his cousins also were in the car.

"The police even searched the kids," he said. "Nothing was found, so what does that tell you?"

Police arrested Murray on felony charges of assault of a peace officer and obstructing official business. He pleaded innocent to the charges Tuesday in municipal court. He is free on a $3,500 bond.

sinkovich@vindy.com




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