By Gregory J. Lamoureux
ST. ALBANS: Prosecutors are fighting back against a motion to dismiss an assault charge against a woman who was punched in the face by a St. Albans Police Officer on March 15th while handcuffed in a holding cell.
The defense attorney representing 35-year-old Amy Connolly, asked for the dismissal from the court in the interest of justice after security footage of the officer punching the woman obtained in the case.
Video in the case shows Sergeant Lawton of the St. Albans Police Department pushing Connolly and punching her in the face.
Now, Prosecutors in the case are asking the Judge to deny the defense motion, in part saying Connolly was “struck once in the face” by the officer during the incident “in order to gain control of the situation and protect (Sergeant Lawton) from further injury.”
Additionally, prosecutors are doubling down, amending the assault charge to a charge of assault on a law enforcement officer.
Seven Days broke the news about the officer brutality on Monday after getting a copy of the footage filed in Franklin County Criminal Court. You can watch that video here:
The response to the motion was filed just before the court closed on Friday afternoon for regular business, the County Courier was the only news agency to get a copy before the court closed for the weekend.
In the argument for the case to continue, prosecutors say Connelly has a significant criminal record that should not be ignored when considering the charges against her.
“The defendant has a criminal history that includes convictions for driving with a suspended license, two DUI convictions, and a simple assault conviction,” wrote Deputy State’s Attorney John Lavoie in his argument against the dismissal. “The simple assault happened in 2004 when the defendant assaulted her then boyfriend’s mother who was attempting to stop her from assaulting her boyfriend.”
Lavoie continues describing the woman’s criminal history, including a time she refused to comply with Vermont State Trooper Jay Riggen who has arrested her for drunk driving.
Lavoie also says in his argument that the woman was so uncooperative in the moments after the St. Albans Officer punched her, that a doctor at Northwestern Medical Center in St. Albans was unable to treat her because of physical danger and vulgar language coming from the woman.
Lavoie asked the court to set the case for a hearing to consider the motions in front of the judge. No date had been set as of Friday’s end of the business day.
Lavoie’s office is also working with the Attorney General’s Office to determine if any criminal charges should be filed against Sergeant Lawton.