Two state troopers to face criminal charges

by Mike Donoghue, Vermont News First

MONTPELIER — The Vermont Attorney’s Office is planning to file criminal charges against two veteran state troopers for the use of a bean bag in an effort to deescalate an out-of-control suspect at a home in Newfane on June 17, 2022, according to the head of the Vermont Troopers’ Association.

Patrol Sgt. Ryan Wood and Trooper Zack Trocki have been notified that they will be cited into criminal court in the coming days by the Vermont Attorney General’s Office, according to VTA Executive Director Michael O’Neil.

O’Neil, reached by phone,  said the VTA leadership along with veteran defense lawyers David Sleigh on behalf of Wood and Robert Sussman on behalf of Trocki are “outraged” by the decision by Attorney General Charity Clark.

Clark has ordered state police to issue citations to Wood and Trocki for reckless endangerment and simple assault, O’Neil said.

O’Neil said there is a strong objection to what he called “the criminalization of a split-second public safety decision”  by Clark’s office.

He said the issue should be dealt with internally through policies and procedures.

O’Neil, a retired detective, said this will set a bad precedent for Vermont law enforcement.

Clark’s chief of staff issued a statement Thursday night: “Prosecutors are subject to particular rules of professional responsibility that prevent us from commenting at this time.”

O’Neil said the Troopers’ Association is planning a full statement.

Earlier news reports indicated Sgt. Wood and Trooper Trocki were dispatched to the two-story residence on Vermont 30 due to a complaint by the homeowner about a guest causing damage and acting irrationally.

They found the suspect brandishing a handheld saw at the back side of the house on a surface slightly above street level.  Based on the totality of the circumstances and the uncontrolled actions of the man, police said a decision was made to use a bean bag to try to encourage compliance to the ignored commands.  Trocki deployed the bean-bag round.

After the bean bag round struck the man, he later walked to the far edge of the roof, police said.  The man later slipped and fell about 12-15 feet off the back of the roof, police said.  The man, Marshall Dean, 61, of Newfane received a head injury. 

Clark has apparently decided the troopers using the bean bag to try to obtain compliance was unjustified.

The case has been sitting in the Attorney General’s Office for 11 months.  Former Attorney General T.J. Donovan and his staff took no action, but Clark, who was sworn in in early January is now proceeding.

Sgt. Wood was hired as a trooper in 2012 and was assigned to the Rockingham barracks after graduation from the Vermont Police Academy.  Wood was assigned to the Narcotics Investigation Unit in 2016.  One year later he was promoted to sergeant and transferred to the Westminster Barracks.

Trooper Trocki was hired in fall 2021 and assigned to the Westminster Barracks following his graduation from the academy in spring 2022.

In an unrelated twist, the home was destroyed in a November 2022 explosion and fire that claimed the life of the owner, Russell A. Buzby, 56, of Newfane.  The explosion blew the front door about 100 feet down the road and caused ammunition to explode as firefighters arrived to battle the blaze.

Categories: Crime

23 replies »

  1. Why would anyone want to be a police officer in Vermont? The bar has been lowered to fill long open positions with egotistical psychopaths. Compounded by a socialist, State’ Attorney’s office generating career ending Brady-Giglio letters no respectable man would take the job.

  2. This is beyond belief from the facts as reported. I doubt if Vermont has a recall procedure for the AG but they surely should. I thought TJ was bad.

  3. I do not understand the DEM-PROG mindset of attacking police over such incidents. I know that there may be history of some truly vile actions by some in VT law enforcement. I strongly suspect that the two officers will be acquitted.

    Perhaps Atty Gen Clark and some like-minded prosecutors need yo be brought up short by the judges whose time they are wasting, and be required to pay financial penalties for overly zealous prosecutions.

  4. Maybe the troopers should have called Spiderman. He could have deployed a spidy net to subdue the lunatic and lower him to the ground.

  5. Any body cam footage available?

    I tend to want to favor the police in this particular scenario, but have learned not to jump to conclusions until I see the footage.

    Police have a tough job making split second decisions in hairy situations based upon centuries of case law, with that said, they do cross the line a lot and as they are not trained well enough on people’s rights, and instead favor the statutes that people have broken.

  6. She continues with this bull squat and there will be no more police response. They will do nothing so they don’t jeopardize their jobs.

    We need to get these Soros bought attorney’s removed from their jobs.

  7. Yeah, a hand saw is totally harmless, especially compared to a bean bag! Sarcasm intended. Yup, this has got to stop, from now on troopers will have to resort to using pink (pink is known to have a calming effect) nerf projectiles, BUT only after first offering to take the suspect out for ice cream if they comply, and counting slowly out loud to 10. Use of the nerf projectile will still result in administrative leave, anger management classes, and a written apology to the “victim”.

  8. The State police still have I union? I thought not based on how no one stood up for the 2 Nathan’s who were forced to resign after saying things that didn’t sound nice but were in the context of playing a game, off duty in a private residence. In the USA.

  9. If troopers are to be held to this kind of a standard by a marxist Attorney General then they should have some discretion in the future about which cases they will respond to. When perpetrators are considered victims and public safety professionals who swear an oath to the Constitution are charged criminally for using REASONABLE FORCE, we have a problem. Next time, send a social worker. The justice system is obviously infected with the Soros virus from top to bottom in Vermont.

  10. Unbelievable. Isn’t a beanbag round better than a 9mm round? What is AG Clark thinking? It’s a wonder that anyone would want to be a LEO in screwed up Vermont.

  11. I’m wondering WHY the VT State Police are issued bean bags to begin with if they are illegal to fire. What a JOKE this “Freedom & Unity” State has become.

    The entire point, however, of ALL of this is to intimidate law enforcement & render them unwilling to serve. Then, the government creates more fear, and more crime through lack of enforcement, more chaos in the streets, more mayhem & murder.

    Next, the infallible new government steps in to CONTROL the problems which they themselves have caused and, in the process, must control all of us, especially the formerly lawful, and including the ignorant citizens who clamored for Communism and who will also and especially be treated like rabid animals at the end of a catch pole —– as they (formerly used to ignite this movement by this newly established government when it was convenient) are now KNOWN COMBATANTS who need to be imprisoned or worse.

    Congrats, Communist Comrades!!! What A Wonderful Life we ALL shall be soon living!!!!

  12. Attny Gen’l has directed the state police to issue a citation. I seem to recall a prosecutor directing the state police to issue a citation to a municipal officer for alleged improper activity. The state police had done their internal affairs investigation and refused to issue the citation, saying that it was not justified. Perhaps the same result will occur here. Let the AG issue her own citation and do her own investigation.

  13. Sounds like Charity Clark is a progressive trying to make a name for herself at the expense of our men in blue, what are they supposed to do when someone doesn’t comply, throw their self on the ground and throw a tantrum?

  14. According to the article the case or incident happened 11 months ago. The former AG didn’t bring charges. To bring this to a level of criminal reckless endangerment and simple assault is in my opinion, insane. I have a feeling that someone has a lot to learn about the reality of police officers responding to unruly or any dangerous person. The new AG needs a few ride alongs in a cruiser on a busy night. Office paper shuffling and a new title does not allow for much life experience in the field.

  15. Part and parcel of the Soros funded weaponized justice system – or rather, two-tiered injustice system. After hearing the testimony of the FBI whistleblowers in DC this week, no one should be surprised the actions of rogue, compromised AG offices here and across the entire nation. We are a nation in distress. We are a State in peril. All perpetrated by the most diabolical and evil beings among us. The days of Haman indeed.

  16. The dem/prog systemic indifference to public safety coupled with their constant incremental erosion of our fundamental right to protect ourselves is going to put all of VT on the path that has Burlington decaying into utter chaos and uncontrollable crime. Traditional Vermont is rolling in its grave!

  17. This is what happens when activists become civil servants. They serve their cause first and the Constitution second. While this behavior is reprehensible the real question is why do our neighbors vote for these people?

  18. So the police go to what appears a Crack house, fire a bean bag at a whacko trying to cut the place up with a saw, he climbs on a roof, falls off and the police are criminally charged? What reasonable person would want to be a cop in this state?

  19. This is such a joke. First it should go to internal affairs. Second did the guy slip or try to jump. Third by going after a cop for something this ridiculous will mage it harder to get more officers to join law enforcement everywhere. Maybe we should start holding the social workers or doctors accountable also for putting these officers in this split second decision making situation. The guy should be in a hospital for mentally I’ll people. Period. End of story.

  20. Just how does the AG get off ordering VSP to do anything? And why aren’t the senior ranking VSP staff (I refuse to call them leaders) speaking out on this abuse of power

  21. We should be supporting these two officers rather than creating frivolous allegations and wasting taxpayer dollars.

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