Society

Officer Strikes Elderly Man, Tries For Reduced Sentence

| by Shani Shahmoon

After assaulting a 73-year-old bathroom attendant because the water in the sink was too cold, a Rhode Island police officer is complying to avoid a lengthy prison sentence.

On April 1, Michael Tousignant was at a Connecticut casino bathroom when the water he was washing his hands in was too cold for his liking. As a result, he took a swipe at the elderly bathroom attendant, the Miami Herald reported.

This is no April Fools Joke.

Tousignant, 36, was charged by the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Police Department following the incident, which left the battered victim with a bloody nose and facial injuries, WSB-TV reports.

Tribal police arrested Tousignant at the scene.

Tousignant's actions would have been held to much stronger consequences had he been back home in Rhode Island, where he is a police officer at the Pawtucket Police Department.

In Connecticut, were the crime took place, assaulting an elderly person is a Class A misdemeanor which carries a one-year prison sentence that cannot be reduced or suspended.

If Tousignant had done this in his home state of Rhode Island, where assaulting person over 60 is a felony, he might have had to serve up to five years in prison, the Providence Journal reported.

In order to seal his file and prevent criminal conviction and prison, Tousignant applied for a court program.

The program is described as an "accelerated pretrial rehabilitation program."

Once the victim is spoken to and the defendant receives admittance, the defendant then is released for supervision for up to two years. If the program is completed within that time, the charges are dropped.

Tousignant's first appearance in court was on April 10, in New London, Connecticut.

Due to his file being sealed, not many details are available about his arraignment. But the Rhode Island police officer is scheduled to appear again on May 31, this time before the Superior Court in New London.

The victim of the assault has not spoken out in regards to the incident or the court program.

Tousignant has been a police officer at the Pawtucket Police Department in Rhode Island for almost 10 years.

Since the investigation began, Tousignant was put on administrative duty, says Police Major Tina Goncalves.

On April 24, Goncalves released a statement in an email: "The Pawtucket Police Department is aware of the situation and will conduct a full investigation into the incident. Further information will be available once the criminal proceedings have been adjudicated."

Sources: Providence Journal, WSB-TV, Miami Herald / Photo credit: Max Pixel

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