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Cops: Suspect banged own head

November 22, 2011

LINCOLN — Police released on Tuesday afternoon the official report regarding the Nov. 12 arrest of a Pawtucket man who remains in critical condition at Rhode Island Hospital.
It indicates that Daniel J. Finn, 41, may have inflicted his own head injuries as officers attempted that Saturday night to transport him from Twin River to headquarters for processing.
The suspect also allegedly spat blood and saliva on at least one officer after claiming to them he had been diagnosed with hepatitis.
According to the report, Finn — who later had been transferred from Landmark Medical Center in Woonsocket to Rhode Island Hospital in Providence to undergo brain surgery — has been charged with three misdemeanor counts. They include disorderly conduct, simple assault/battery and resisting legal or illegal arrest.
“The investigation is not complete,” stated Lincoln Town Solicitor Anthony DeSisto on Tuesday night. “I have spoken with Mr. Finn's attorney (Mark Dana), and I requested Mr. Finn's medical records. Mr. Dana has been very cooperative.”
When asked if he was surprised that the report became public as quickly as it did, DeSisto replied, “No. It's always been the intent of the Lincoln Police Department to be as open and forthcoming as possible, in accordance with the law, with matters of this nature.
“It will be a very thorough review, where investigators will consider every aspect of the incident,” he added.
He also mentioned that spitting is considered a battery offense, and that Finn allegedly had made “an offer of violence” toward at least one officer. That, he said, “constitutes an assault.”
Dana stated he received the reports Tuesday, and was “disappointed” that it failed to show how and why Finn's injuries became so severe.
The reports reveal several officers either responded to the casino or came into contact with the suspect the night of Nov. 12; they included Sgt. Kenneth Smith and Patrolmen Ryan Laboissonniere, Sean Gorman, Russell Enos and Christopher Nightingale.
Smith noted Twin River security personnel had asked him to report to the valet entrance in response to an intoxicated man. The sergeant stated the subject refused to remain seated, said he wanted to drive himself home and would not take a taxi, which security officials had called.
“A crowd of college students had gathered and begun to cheer on (the suspect) and remain defiant,” Smith wrote in his report. “More students began to gather and watched as Finn continued to be belligerent toward Twin River security.”
Smith indicated he could smell a strong odor of alcohol emanating from Finn, and that he had red and watery eyes, but simply told him he was a Lincoln Police officer and to remain calm. He explained a taxi was en route to bring him home, and that he wasn't under arrest.
As Finn continued to attempt to rise and state he would, in fact, drive himself home, Smith sat him back down and asked he remain seated.
“Finn became upset and continued to use profanity, causing a larger crowd to gather and watch; that became a hazard to patrons as they exited and entered Twin River,” he wrote. “Finn stated he has hepatitis and was going to spit in my face.
“At this point, he began to stand while looking right at me. Finn was seated again and then began to make a noise consistent with that of someone getting ready to spit. I took hold of Finn and ordered him not to spit on me or anyone else.”
The suspect then cussed at Smith and turned his head in his direction to spit on him, so officers took him to the floor.
“I believed he was going to assault me by spitting in my face, not knowing if Finn had hepatitis,” he wrote.
While the suspect was being handcuffed, Finn sustained a cut to his nose; once he was arrested, he refused to stand or walk, so Laboissonniere and Smith carried him to a cruiser. Once there, Finn would not seat himself inside, and on several occasions allegedly threatened to spit at both.
Laboissonniere had responded to the casino to transport the suspect to the station at about 10:30 p.m., and he stated the suspect continuously tried to prevent officers from closing Cruiser No. 501's back door.
“It should be noted that while en route to headquarters, Finn continuously slammed his head on the window bars, and on the plastic from the half cage,” Laboissonniere wrote in his report. “I logged these actions in the police log at 22:42 hours (10:42 p.m.) … Finn threatened to spit on me and infect me with hepatitis.
“I attempted to speak with Finn and ask if he had any physical defects which would prevent him from walking, but he refused to answer … While awaiting for the south door to open (at the station), I observed Finn had blood running down his nostril into his mouth, and his (facial) abrasion was also still bleeding.”
Upon arrival, Finn allegedly remained combative, refusing to walk on his own through the station's rear door, so Laboissonniere, Gorman and Nightingale carried him.
“(In an attempt) to coax Finn into walking under his own power, I explained … he was being charged with disorderly conduct and resisting arrest,” Laboissonniere reported. “(And), if he cooperates, he could be out of police custody by the morning. Finn stated that he was not going to cooperate and that he was going to spit in our faces.”
The aforementioned officers finally placed the suspect in a cell, and — as they stood around him — Finn made sounds with his throat typifying he was preparing to spit.
“While Officer Gorman was patting (him) down, Finn pulled away from Officer Gorman to separate just enough to turn in my direction … He spit blood and saliva directly into my face,” Laboissonniere wrote. “At this point, Officers Gorman, Nightingale and I took Finn to the ground for control and assure that he could not spit in my face a second time.”
While his colleagues controlled the suspect, Laboissonniere immediately wiped the blood and saliva from his face and hair, and Gorman called emergency medical personnel to respond to evaluate both Laboissonniere and Finn.
Gorman ran outside to retrieve a spit mask from his vehicle, and Laboissonniere pulled it over Finn's head. A short time later, Gorman pulled the spit mask off of Finn and noticed the suspect was bleeding from the right side of his face.
“I asked Finn if he was OK, and he stated that his contacts had fallen out,” Laboissonniere reported. “Finn leaned on the wall in a sitting position until Lime Rock Fire and Cumberland Rescue (personnel) arrived on scene. I advised the rescue personnel that I would be seen at a later date, if needed. Finn was transported by Cumberland Rescue to Landmark Medical to be treated for his injuries.”
According to Enos, who had been at the casino's valet entrance when security first encountered Finn, the suspect “sustained a small abrasion to his nose during the ground control tactics that were applied.”
When contacted later Tuesday night, Finn's attorney, Mark Dana, claimed he was “disappointed” with the reports he received.
“They fail to indicate what caused his severe brain damage,” he stated. “There are a lot of things in these reports which imply what happened but don't say exactly what happened. It seems to me that somebody must have seen what caused that type of injury. The frontal lobe of the brain was damaged, causing swelling.
“That caused the surgeons to remove a front portion of the skull to help the swelling diminish, and a blood clot developed,” he continued. “The doctors said the injury was caused by blunt-force trauma, meaning he sustained a traumatic brain injury.”
He revealed doctors on Tuesday had issued Finn a tracheotomy to help him breathe easier, but that Finn still is unresponsive and remains in a medically-induced coma.
“We're going to wait until the investigation is concluded by the Office of the Attorney General,” he said. “Once that's done, and depending on what it says, then we'll move forward from there.”


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