Vermont State Police troopers plead not guilty to nonlethal beanbag incident in Newfane a year ago

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Sgt. R Wood and Trooper Zachary Trocki appeared in Windham County Superior Court Tuesday morning to be formally charged with reckless endangerment.

The two officers were called to a neighbor in Newfane to deescalate a situation at a home last June.

The troopers pleaded not guilty Tuesday after they shot non-lethal bean bag rounds at 61-year-old Marshall Dean while he was on the roof of a home almost a year ago.

Dean fell and was hospitalized with significant injuries. The incident was investigated as an officer-involved shooting and was moved to Attorney General Charity Clark’s office.

In court, the AG’s office said they plan to try and recharge the troopers with simple assault, which was previously dropped against both men.

“Based on the facts and cirstances and consistent with Vermont law, the Attorney General’s Office concluded that Sergeant Wood and Trooper Trocki were not justified in their use of force,” a statement from the attorney general’s office said. “There is no evidence, based on body camera videos, that Mr. Dean posed an imminent threat to the lives of the troopers or any other person.”

Attorneys representing the troopers think the charges are too harsh for officers on duty.

“I think there is enormous harm to charging a police officer with a crime in situations where the facts are either unclear or simply inadequate to support a charge,” said David Sleigh, Wood’s defense attorney. “I think that’s what they did with Bob Zink, and I think that’s what they’re doing here.”

If convicted, the charge is a misdemeanor and is punishable by one year in prison and or a $1,000 fine.

There is no timeline for the attorney general’s office to refile the simple assault charge.

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