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Bristol cop won’t be charged in prisoner incident

BRISTOL — A Bristol police officer will not face criminal charges for handcuffing a prisoner to a wall outside of a South Burlington jail last month.
The announcement came last Wednesday, when Chittenden County State’s Attorney T.J. Donovan said the Bristol police department’s actions in the case were “unacceptable,” but that there was insufficient evidence to bring charges in the case.
“This was an unfortunate incident where a young woman was caught in the middle of a bureaucratic dispute,” Donovan said in a statement. “While prisoners in the state of Vermont rightfully lose some of their rights, the criminal justice system should never strip them of their dignity.”
The incident that sparked Donovan’s investigation took place on Feb. 7, when an unidentified Bristol police officer stopped a car driven by Chantel Storti for a defective headlight. At that point, the officer learned of an active arrest warrant from Chittenden County for the woman.
The Bristol officer took the woman into custody and took her to the Chittenden County Correctional Facility based on that warrant, but Department of Corrections staff told the officer that their facility would not accept the prisoner because the arrest took place in Addison County.
At that point, the Bristol officer handcuffed the woman to the door of the prison’s sally port, an enclosed, garage-like structure, and left the sally port to contact his supervisor. Following a 20-minute conversation with his supervisor, the officer released the woman on a citation to appear in court the following day.
The officer told the state’s attorney’s office that he handcuffed the woman to the door because he had previously been ordered to do so if the Chittenden Correctional Facility did not accept a prisoner.
Bristol Police Chief Kevin Gibbs could not be reached by the deadline for this issue of the Independent.
Reporter Kathryn Flagg is at [email protected].

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