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Sound Bites: CT Inspector General clears trooper’s use of chokehold

A Connecticut State Police officer.
Molly Ingram
A Connecticut State Police officer.

Good morning, 

The Office of Inspector General has cleared an off-duty Connecticut state trooper of any wrongdoing after he used a chokehold to defend another officer in Wallingford. The report found that Trooper Joshua Wedge was justified in using a chokehold, which is prohibited under state law, to Ira Turner following a car chase and foot pursuit. Wedge used deadly force to free Trooper Brandon Poirier from Turner's use of a chokehold against him. Turner, 35, was later found guilty of second-degree kidnapping and violating a protective order. He was sentenced to two years of probation. 

Here’s a bite-sized look at what else we’re hearing:

Two Long Island men were charged for stealing car parts. Randy Woods and Dwayne Jones face charges for stealing rims and tires from 114 vehicles in Suffolk County across a 15-month period. Prosecutors say they caused $500,000 in property damage. Woods was charged with 34 counts of grand theft, 34 counts of auto stripping, and misdemeanor conspiracy. Jones, who prosecutors say has ties to street gangs, is already serving a 6-month jail sentence in Bergen County, New Jersey. The two face a possible 25-year sentence.

Former Bridgeport principal claims sex discrimination. Beth Furnari has filed a lawsuit against the city Board of Education for sexual discrimination and harassment. The lawsuit argues that Furnari was called into Superintendent Michael Testani’s office to address a parent complaint about the Parent Teacher Organization's lack of leadership. Furnari's lawsuit said Testani reprimanded her for contacting the PTO president, but did not treat male principals similarly.

Scientists are still concerned about the scallop harvest in Peconic Bay, according to a survey this month by the Cornell Cooperative Extension and Stony Brook University. A massive scallop die-off occurred in 2019. Researchers blame rising water temperatures, lower oxygen levels and a newly-discovered parasite as possible reasons for the die-off. They said numbers for the November to March harvest are a little higher, but still haven’t recovered despite replanting efforts.

Connecticut students are still struggling post-pandemic, according to the latest report from the state Education Department. The report shows academic proficiency rates across math, science and English — as well as school attendance and enrollment — still trail behind pre-pandemic levels. Progress in English literacy proficiency dropped 10% last year. However, student access to the arts increased slightly.

A wild security concern at Tweed New Haven Airport. Officials temporarily closed the departures terminal after TSA agents found a hollowed-out hand grenade during a security check. The passenger argued there was no harm posed in bringing the fake weapon. The terminal reopened after the police cleared the suspicious item. The airport advised passengers to check the TSA website for permitted items.

A Long Island urologist could face life in prison. Dr. Darius Paduch, who worked at two prominent New York hospitals, tried to convince his patients — five minors and two adults — that engaging in unlawful sexual activity constituted medical treatment. Paduch will return to court on August 19 and could face life in prison.

Andrea Quiles is a fellow at WSHU.