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Monday, July 02, 2007

Foul play in death?

Police deny foul play in suspect's death but people in the community aren't buying it and are singing a different tune.
Detectives with the Hartford Police Department's major crimes and internal affairs divisions are investigating the death of a drug suspect who ran from police and fell from a third-floor window of an apartment building over the weekend.

Carlos Alvarado, 22, of Hartford, fell about 2:20 a.m. Saturday when he tried to escape through the stairwell window at 57 Belden St., police said. The state medical examiner confirmed Sunday that Alvarado died later Saturday of injuries suffered in the fall.

The death has sparked outrage among some in the community who are skeptical of police accounts of what happened at the building, where neighbors said Alvarado lived on the fourth floor.

Hartford Police Chief Daryl K. Roberts said Sunday that Alvarado has an extensive record of drug dealing and has jumped from windows in the past to elude police. Roberts said he is confident that's what happened early Saturday.


Several people in the neighborhood said Sunday that they heard Alvarado had been pushed by police, and two people identifying themselves as eyewitnesses said they saw Alvarado fall backward with his arms flailing. They said he landed between two brown garbage containers, striking his head on the corner of one.

Semonae Richardson, a 27-year-old certified nurse's assistant who said she lives in the building next to Alvarado's, said she was on the second-story balcony of her building facing the window from which Alvarado fell.

She said she saw Alvarado standing with his back to the window and his hands raised. Then she said she saw a police officer push him backward through the window. She said Alvarado tried to grasp the window ledge before he fell.

Roberts said Alvarado was likely hanging from the window ledge when he fell, so he would have been facing the building.

"They're saying what they heard everybody else say," Roberts said. "We are making a conscious effort to make everyone in the neighborhood feel safe. The negative element is not going to agree with what we're doing."

Roberts said those who are claiming Alvarado was pushed likely saw the pursuing officers peer out the window from which Alvarado fell. The officers "looked to see exactly where he was," which is the natural thing to do, Roberts said. "What [neighbors] saw was after the fact. They didn't see an officer push him out him out the window."

"Why would we throw a man out of a window?" Roberts said. "That's crazy."

photo credit: Ross Taylor, Hartford Courant