Conn. troopers charged with beating man who harassed woman

Xavier Cruz and Rupert Laird are facing several charges including kidnapping and assault. 

Wethersfield Police Department

WETHERSFIELD, Conn. -- Two Connecticut state troopers have been charged in connection with the beating of a man in Wethersfield while off-duty.

Rupert Laird, of Manchester, and Xavier Cruz, of Wethersfield, were arraigned Tuesday in New Britain Superior Court on charges of first-degree kidnapping with a firearm, second-degree assault with a firearm and deprivation of rights by force or threat.

Court documents say Laird was upset that the man improperly touched a woman Laird was apparently dating and Laird beat the victim in Cruz’s home while Cruz watched on Feb. 18.

Police told WFSB that a group of people were hanging out at a Hartford bar and went to Cruz’s Wethersfield home.

When everyone left, the victim said he couldn’t get into his house, so he asked Cruz if he could stay the night.

“When that gentleman got there, he was walked into the house by another state trooper [Laird], who was the boyfriend of the girl he had been flirting with,” Wethersfield Police Chief James Cetran told WFSB. 

Laird’s lawyer says Laird was motivated by a desire to protect the woman.

According to court documents, Laird said to the man “you touched my girl, you know you’re gonna pay for this.” Laird allegedly said “we’re gonna settle this is old school way.”

The victim said he was brought into the basement of the home and that’s where he told police that he was told to take his eyeglasses and his clothes off.

The victim claimed the officers head-butted the man and then kicked and punched him more than 20 times. He was then beaten with a baton more than 15 times. The victim told authorities he was also asked to kneel on a small metal kitchen grater.

“I was incredulous. I didn’t believe that two professional Connecticut state troopers would do anything of this nature,” Cetran said. “This is devastating to all of us, all law enforcement because it’s so egregious. It’s terrible.” 

State police have suspended Cruz and Laird.

“It’s also an abuse that’s not excused and taken severely. They’ve been charged with some pretty heavy charges,” Cetran said.

Cruz posted $750,000 bail and Laird was detained on the same bail amount. A judge ordered them under house arrest if they post bail.