By Tony Hanson
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — A Pennsylvania state trooper has been indicted on charges of assaulting a handcuffed man inside the alleged victim’s Exton (Chester County), Pa. home in 2009.
Trooper Kelly Cruz pleaded not guilty to the criminal civil rights charge against him during his initial court appearance today and has been suspended without pay.
“It’s alleged that Trooper Cruz stomped on the back of someone’s head, and that that constituted excessive force under the circumstances,” says federal prosecutor LC Wright.
The indictment only identifies the alleged victim as “Z.B.,” but court records indicate that a man named Zachary Bare had filed a civil suit against police, now settled. No terms of that settlement were released in the court record.
Bare’s attorney says his client was stomped — his nose broken and his teeth knocked out — during an incident that resulted from mistaken identity: Bare wasn’t the man police were after.
This charge comes four years to the day after the incident. A state grand jury earlier declined to recommend charges in the case.