Video showing a veteran Rhode Island state trooper using force against a suspect in a holding cell has been released from a federal court seal. The video was taken in 2014 and shows Trooper Jamie Donnelly-Taylor walking suspect Lionel Monsanto into a cell at the Lincoln state police barracks. Donnelly-Taylor is then seen throwing several punches at Monsanto, who falls to the floor.
The tape has been part of an ongoing legal battle between the trooper, state police, and the attorney general’s office. Donnelly-Taylor pleaded no contest to simple assault, but said he did so because then-Col. Steven O’Donnell assured him the plea would prevent the video from becoming public and the state would represent him in any lawsuit, according to a statement from his attorney. Then-Attorney General Peter Kilmartin eventually decided not to represent the trooper. The state reached a $125,000 settlement with Monsanto last year.
Donnelly-Taylor’s attorney argued that Monsanto first struck the trooper with his elbow, before Donnelly-Taylor used force.
“This case was truly a miscarriage of justice. A video showing an officer’s use of force is never pretty. However, viewing the video in slow motion in this case clearly shows that the officer was assaulted by the suspect prior to using force,” said attorney John Martin.
Donnelly-Taylor is a 17-year veteran of the state police. He is currently on injured on duty status.