‘I messed up’: Body cam footage released in CT trooper’s DUI arrest
SOUTHBURY — A Connecticut State Police trooper admitted he “messed up” shortly before fellow troopers took him into custody on a DUI charge last week, according to body camera footage and audio released Thursday.
It was around 12:50 a.m. on Monday, March 16 when Troop A in Southbury got a 911 call about a state police cruiser parked on the right shoulder of I-84 west in Waterbury.
The 911 caller said the vehicle had its hazard lights on and that the driver was either “asleep or unresponsive,” according to the 911 recording, released by state police on Thursday.
In that cruiser was Trooper Shaquille Williams. Assigned to the patrol division out of Troop I in Bethany, Williams had been with state police for two years.
While troopers are allowed to use their assigned vehicles while off duty under the police union contract, state policy prohibits state police from having any amount of alcohol while driving their department vehicle.
The troopers can be seen on body camera footage approaching Williams’ cruiser, before one of them — identified verbally as a sergeant by the other troopers — knocked on the driver’s side window.
The troopers have a brief conversation with Williams before the sergeant told Williams that he had to take field sobriety tests “based on everything.”
Williams was off duty at the time of the incident.
After the exams — of which Williams did several, including nine heel-to-toe steps in one direction and nine more in the other direction — the trooper who conducted them spoke with the sergeant who asked if Williams passed.
“In my expert opinion, he’s borderline,” the trooper told the state police sergeant, according to body camera footage.
When the troopers returned, Williams admitted he “messed up.”
“I messed up. I really did,” Williams can be heard on the audio of body camera footage. “I’m not even gonna lie to you guys. I messed up.”
The sergeant asked Williams where he was drinking and how much. Williams told the sergeant he was in New Haven and had three shots.
The sergeant went back to his cruiser to call a lieutenant about the situation. The two other troopers had Williams sit in his cruiser.
Body camera footage from one of the troopers showed that on the backseat of Williams’ cruiser was his department-issue duty belt with his service weapon still holstered.
“I don’t think he’d go for it, but we gotta make sure he doesn’t,” the trooper can be heard saying on body camera footage after closing the door behind Williams.
“What?” the other trooper questioned.
“The weapon,” he responded.
Soon after, the trooper who performed the tests again spoke with the sergeant, who told him the lieutenant indicated that if Williams failed field sobriety tests, he should be taken into custody.
A fourth trooper arrives on scene — later identified by the sergeant as a union representative — and gets in to the passenger seat of Williams’ cruiser briefly before he leaves the scene.
Soon after, the troopers placed Williams in handcuffs and put him in the front passenger seat of a cruiser.
From there, he was taken to Troop A and processed on the charge of illegal operation of a motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
In the cruiser on the way to Troop A, the sergeant and Williams spoke candidly about what happened and how he ended up pulled over on the side of the road, all captured on a camera within the cruiser, pointed directly at Williams.
Williams explains to the sergeant that he and his wife had just bought a house.
“It’s gonna be bad for us,” Williams said. “And I messed up — it’s me, my fault.”
“What am I supposed to do, you know what I mean?” the sergeant replied. “Listen, I hear you. It will work out. It will work out for you.”
“I made a wrong decision,” Williams said.
After he was processed at Troop A, Williams was released on a $500 bond.
Williams was suspended from state police after his arrest. His badge, ID, cruiser and weapon were all turned over to state police. An Internal Affairs investigation is underway.
Court records show Williams is scheduled to appear in Waterbury court for arraignment on May 15 at 10 a.m.