Video released of RI state trooper assaulting suspect in cell

By: Amanda Pitts


SCITUATE, R.I. (WLNE) – Video of a Rhode Island State Police trooper using excessive force on a suspect back in 2014 has now been made public, after a five-year legal battle.

The over 20-minute video shows the actions leading up to Trooper James Donnelly-Taylor punching Lionel Monsanto in a holding cell at the Lincoln barracks.

“Let me plainly state that I’m profoundly disturbed by the criminal conduct of Trooper Donnelly-Taylor,” said Colonel James Manni in a press conference Monday afternoon.


The incident dates back to February of 2014, when Donnelly-Taylor arrested Monsanto on 95 South in Providence during a traffic stop, after discovering he had an expired license.

Things escalated after the two exchanged words during the booking process.

“All police officers, state troopers, we encounter that fairly regularly, but we have a tremendous amount of training on how to de-escalate a situation like that,” said Colonel Manni.

Donnelly-Taylor pleaded no contest to a simple assault charge and received a one-year suspended sentence. The state settled with Monsanto at the price of $125,000. Donnelly-Taylor had to pay $15,000 to Monsanto in the settlement.

“Such violent behavior is not condoned by the men and women of the Rhode Island State Police, nor reflective of the high standards of training by this organization.”

Colonel James Manni was not the superintendent of Rhode Island State Police back then but wants to send a message now.

“Any trooper who uses excessive force and unjustifiable violent tactics will be fired.”

The colonel at the time was Steve O’Donnell, and in a statement to ABC6 he reiterated the facts of the case, adding “The video depicts Mr. Taylor’s actions and are not a reflection on the Rhode Island State Police.”

As for trooper Donnelly-Taylor’s future, Colonel Manni said they’re weighing all options with their legal counsel.

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