2 Connecticut troopers charged with kidnapping, assault

Xavier Cruz and Rupert Laird

WETHERSFIELD, Conn. (AP/ WTNH)– Two Connecticut state troopers have been arrested and charged with beating a man in Wethersfield while off-duty.

Wethersfield police say Xavier Cruz turned himself in Monday night and Rupert Laird surrendered Tuesday. They’re charged with first-degree kidnapping with a firearm, second-degree assault with a firearm and deprivation of rights by force or threat.

Police were alerted to the alleged assault on Feb. 18 by a nurse at a hospital where the man was treated. After a night of partying, the victim allegedly touched Trooper Laird’s girlfriend inappropriately, while at the home of Trooper Cruz. Trooper Laird showed up, apparently angry, and threatened the victim with a gun.

According to the arrest warrant he said,

“You know I can kill you right? If I was going to kill you no one would find your body.”

More Details: State troopers under investigation identified

Laird’s lawyer said he was protecting a loved one.

“A singular situation where someone very close to him was sexually assaulted. He responded to that out of a desire to protect,” said Attorney Morgan Rueckert.

Laird then allegedly beat the victim severely in the basement of the Wethersfield home. The arrest warrant quotes the victim as saying Trooper Laird

“…kicked him more than 20 times, punched him more than 20 times, and further stated it was hard to say how many times Rupert struck him with the baton, maybe 15 times.”

State police have suspended Cruz and Laird. Cruz was assigned to Troop K in Colchester and Laird to Troop C in Tolland. Both troopers are suspended from their job and the judge ordered them to be under house arrest with an ankle monitor.

State police released the following statement regarding the arrest:

The Connecticut State Police is committed to serving all of Connecticut’s residents while embodying our core values of professionalism, respect, and integrity. We hold accountable all members of the agency, emphasizing their obligation to uphold these values and our standard of conduct, whether on-duty or off-duty.

Immediately upon learning of the egregious conduct of two off-duty state troopers, Tpr. Rupert Laird, Troop C-Tolland, and Tpr. Xavier Cruz, Troop K-Colchester, the Connecticut State Police suspended their police powers, confiscated their weapons, badges and patrol vehicles, and opened its own administrative inquiry. Both troopers are suspended pending the outcome of the proceedings.

The Wethersfield Police Department is the lead investigate body. Any requests for information on the progress of this case should be addressed to the New Britain State’s Attorney’s Office.

Both men were released on bond and are due back in court March 29.