In April 2013, Jewu Richardson endured an unjust criminal trial, facing charges of assault on a police officer, resisting arrest, and a slew of felony and misdemeanor motor vehicle charges stemming from an incident on January 16, 2010.
On January 16, Mr. Richardson was illegally chased, shot, beaten, and jailed by NHPD officers. His passengers were also assaulted but never arrested or charged with any crimes. The NHPD destroyed Mr. Richardson’s vehicle shortly after the incident, thus eliminating this key piece of evidence from the trial. Prior to this incident, he had been experiencing constant harassment by the NHPD following his high-profile lawsuit against the Police Department, City of New Haven and several officers and detectives for over 13 years of abuse and wrongful arrest.
Statement from the jury
The result of this this trial is best summed up by the final note from the jury to the judge which read: One fundamental issue dominates EVERY discussion of every element of every charge. The guilt or innocence of the police. Not all jurors can exclude this topic from any element of any charge. Juror quote: ‘They [the police] broke the law. How can you convict anyone of anything in such a case?’
Facts from the case & first trial
• Officer Dupont pulled Mr. Richardson over for a broken headlight, but with his gun already drawn. Mr. Richardson fled out of legitimate fear for his life, based on a decade-long history of NHPD harassment.
• Multiple NHPD officers violated “no-chase” policy by engaging Mr. Richardson in pursuit. The same officers ignored orders on 3 occasions to terminate pursuit, for which they were later reprimanded.
• One officer involved in the chase admitted to using overly aggressive military tactics that he had learned during his 8 years as a guard at Guantanamo Bay.
• None of the 10 officers involved could later identify any other officers at the scene, and none could explain the numerous documented injuries suffered by Mr. Richardson and his passengers.
• No civilian witnesses, including those called by the prosecution, corroborated the officers’ account of Mr. Richardson being the aggressor.
• Of the two civilian witnesses called by the prosecution, one said Mr. Richardson’s vehicle never touched the officer who shot him and the other said that Mr. Richardson’s car was stopped when Officer Van Nostrand leapt onto the hood and shot Mr. Richardson.
• An accident reconstruction expert testified that Mr. Richardson’s vehicle likely could not have moved or struck Officer Van Nostrand. He also testified that the angle at which the bullet entered the windshield required Officer Van Nostrand to be standing above the windshield pointing his gun down towards Mr. Richardson.
• Mr. Richardson’s jacket, with a bullet hole and a large blood stain, was not allowed into the trial as evidence. However, Officer Van Nostrand’s uniform was admitted and shown to the jury several times.
• Mr. Richardson’s vehicle, the alleged assault weapon, was destroyed while in police custody. No accident reconstruction was done, no fingerprints were obtained, and no ballistics analysis was done prior to its unexplained destruction.
• Two officers who were suing Mr. Richardson for damages prior to the trial later withdrew their lawsuits, presumably due to information that came out during the trial.
According to Lawyer Norm Pattis, this case should be over. “The state failed to meet its burden of proof; it failed to overcome the presumption of innocence, right? But Jewu Richardson will almost certainly be tried again.” The state will get a second chance to convict Jewu of crimes that he did not commit, and to cover up the misconduct and outright criminal activity of the police using taxpayer resources.