Monday, April 28, 2008

Inmate files suit against city’s narcotics squad

By William Kaempffer
Register Staff
— A state inmate jailed for violating special parole has filed a 31-page, hand-written lawsuit claiming members of the New Haven narcotics squad planted drugs on him during an arrest.
Jewu Richardson, who also uses the name Corey Johnson, is representing himself and is seeking $1.5 million in damages.
The 29-year-old has named as defendants seven current and former police officers, including former Lt. William White and former Detective Justen Kasperzyk, who are awaiting sentencing on federal corruption charges. Richardson filed the suit in March.
The lawsuit focuses on two encounters with police. In one, he claims that Kasperzyk, during a January 2006 encounter in Newhallville, planted a bundle of drugs in his coat and, after Richardson protested that they weren’t his and were planted, Richardson claims the detective told them “that they are going to be my drugs” unless Richardson provided police with information that would lead to the arrest of a drug dealer, shooting or other major crime.
Some of the accusations leveled by Richardson, even if they were true, would be beyond the three-year statute of limitations. He claims, for instance, in another encounter, that in 2000 Kasperzyk and another detective, Karen Bell, arrested him for selling drugs to an undercover police officer and then he was allegedly punched and kicked by the two detectives after he refused to “snitch” on other people in crimes.
Other accusations, as he attempts to paint a picture of a pattern of harassment by Kasperzyk and Bell, do not necessarily violate any federal statute.
“As you know, it’s a pro se plaintiff and he’s made a lot of allegations,” said city Corporation Counsel John Ward. A pro se plaintiff is one whom represents them self in court and does not have an attorney.
“The first thing that we have to do is make some investigation into it,” Ward said of Richardson’s claims, adding, “There is nothing to suggest that any of this is true as far as we’re concerned.”
The defense for Kasperzyk and White will have to be farmed out to a private firm because of the “obvious conflict,” he said.
The conflict arises because both were arrested by the FBI, fired from the department and are receiving pensions. While both are awaiting sentencing, White’s sentencing is scheduled for today.
Bell, after being promoted to sergeant, retired from the department on a disability last year.
Neither Bell nor Kasperzyk could be reached for comment. Richardson is incarcerated and does not have an attorney.
Richardson’s father, identified in court documents as Neil Richardson, is a state judicial marshal who the son claims saw him in the lock-up after the alleged 2000 beating and insisted on being present when detectives conducted a strip search to look for contraband. Reached at work, the elder Richardson declined to speak over the phone and said he wasn’t available to speak in person.

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