Medical Examiner rules O'Loughlin death a homicide

PROVIDENCE, RI – A man who died 16 hours after being arrested by Westerly police was the victim of a homicide, according to the Connecticut Medical Examiner's office. Specifically, the autopsy showed Ryan O'Loughlin, 34, of Mystic, CT died of blunt force trauma to the abdomen which lacerated his liver.

O'Loughlin's attorney, Mark Dana, says it's a clear case of excessive brutality.

"What took place here was unconscionable and it should not go without any punishment," Dana said at a press conference attended by O'Loughlin's parents, sister and wife. "In short, he was beaten to death. That is un-contradicted from this report."

O'Loughlin, a Gulf War veteran, was arrested at midnight June 9th outside the Perks and Corks Bar in Westerly. A companion had punched a hole in the wall of the bathroom. The owner called police when he was unable to reach agreement on payment for damages. O'Loughlin was charged with resisting arrest and disorderly conduct. Dana says three Westerly police officers assaulted him outside the bar when O'Loughlin held his arms rigidly at his side, refusing to put his hands behind his back.

"From anyone's point of view that is passive resistance and there's a protocol by which the police should have used to make sure they effectuated the arrest without killing him," said Dana.

The autopsy showed injuries to 12 locations on O'Loughlin's body, literally from head to toe.

"He suffered the injuries from attempting to be put into custody outside of the bar. There's no question they beat him. I mean it's just not, it should not be in dispute."

Dana says the autopsy turned up no signs of alcohol or drugs. The only pre-existing condition was a heart problem. Dana says he will file a civil lawsuit alleging civil rights abuses. The case is also the subject of a criminal investigation being conducted jointly by Rhode Island State Police and the Attorney General's office.

Calls to Westerly police, the town manager and several town councilors were not immediately returned.

Do you have insight or expertise on this topic? Please email us, we'd like to hear from you.