Richardson Opts for Plea with Barring of Evidence

Jewu Richardson is done fighting-at least for now.

After surviving what he and his supporters claim has been a 12 year saga that started with a drug possession arrest in 2000 and has been marked by New Haven Police Department blackmail, harassment, and drug-related framings in retribution for filing an internal complaint against officers under Lieutenant William White-who was indicted in 2007 by the Federal government for taking bribes and was once terminated for planting  drug evidence-Richardson is agreeing to serve one year in prison in exchange for having an assault against an officer allegation wiped from charges related to an incident that left a bullet in his chest, according to a statement released today by the group Justice for Jewu, whose members have been in contact with him.

It was the night of January 10, 2010. Richardson, who was driving two passengers, was pulled over-as he says he has many times for stop and frisks-on Howard Avenue. But needless to say, he and the Department do not have a friendly history, and when he sees that one of the officers is walking toward his vehicle with his firearm out, he panics, according to the narrative given by Justice for Jewu.

Like every story, there are two versions. Cops, according to news reports from around that time, say that Richardson fled as the first officer was waiting for back up and then led them on a chase that ended in him attempting to ram police officer Ross Van Nostrand with his car at a Whalley Avenue gas station. Richardson told reporters that Van Nostrand shot through his windshield after he had stopped the car and he and his passengers had surrendered.

Now, with crucial evidence-the fact that the officers were called off three times on the night of the chase-being barred from all consideration in what would have been the second time Richardson was tried for assaulting a police officer in that incident, he is taking the plea bargain. In the previous trial, his bullet holed, blood stained shirt was not brought forward in proceedings, according to the statement.

Going to trial-and losing-would have carried a sentence of 30 years or more, the Justice for Jewu statement said.

Richardson went to trial last year for the alleged assault-the Department claimed that he had rammed the police cruiser with his vehicle, but Richardson’s car was destroyed before the proceedings began-but the jury could not come to a decision and a mistrial was declared.

“This is the context in which Jewu made his decision,” the statement read. “As has been the case since day one, we respect Jewu’s decisions. This came after 1 high profile trial and 3 years of courtroom indignities. The weight of 30 plus years over the last 3 years must have been tremendous, not counting the physical and emotional scars of the last 12 years of being a target. Jewu also made his decision as a father, a community member, a mentor, an organizer, and a worker. Jewu’s family and his work addressing violence and injustice in the community would be greatly jeopardized if he received the 30 plus year sentence the state was pursuing.”

Richardson begins his sentence on July 7. He did not return a request for comment.

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