Trooper accused of assaulting man in custody

RI State Police Lincoln Barracks (Photo: Susan Campbell/WPRI 12)

SCITUATE, R.I. (WPRI) — An indicted Rhode Island state trooper is accused of assaulting a man being held on a traffic violation, Col. Steven O’Donnell confirmed during a news conference Wednesday afternoon.

According to a statewide grand jury report released Tuesday, James Donnelly-Taylor is accused of assaulting a person in Lincoln on Feb. 26. O’Donnell identified that person as Lionel Monsanto, who was in custody at the Lincoln barracks after a traffic stop.

lionel monsanto injuriesMonsanto, who was arrested on charges of driving with an expired license, was reportedly acting confrontational and acting aggressively, O’Donnell said. Monsanto told Eyewitness News that his license was expired at the time of the incident but claims he was not aggressive.

“As he led me to the cell he shouted ‘don’t swing at me!’ and I had turned around with a confused face,” said Monsanto, “He just punched me, I was in shock. I’m not going to fight with an officer inside of a cell in a precinct. I did notice the camera to the side of me.”

Donnelly-Taylor then filed simple assault and disorderly conduct charges against Monsanto which were later dismissed.

O’Donnell said Donnelly-Taylor of Warwick is a five-year veteran of the state police and has been on paid administrative leave for several weeks. He said an internal state police investigation led to the indictment.

According to the state attorney general’s office, Donnelly-Taylor is due for arraignment on May 21.

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