PROVIDENCE -- An FBI-led investigation has concluded that authorities did not use excessive force in their handling of Esteban Carpio, who is accused of killing a detective with the detective's own service weapon at police headquarters last month.
After he appeared in court badly bruised and swollen, blood oozing from the plastic spit shield he was wearing, Carpio's family complained that the 26-year-old had been a victim of police brutality.
But Kenneth Kaiser, special agent in charge of the Boston office of the FBI, said yesterday that a monthlong review of the department's handling of the case, including interviews with more than a dozen civilian witnesses, found no civil rights violations.
''If he's fighting police officers, the officers have a right to use whatever means necessary to subdue the suspect," Kaiser said during a press conference with local and State Police. ''From personal experience, I think the police officers and correctional officers used amazing restraint with Mr. Carpio."
The FBI report has been given to the US Department of Justice's civil rights division for review. A panel led by the FBI and including members of the state and Providence police conducted the probe.
Clifford Montiero, head of the Providence chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, called the findings a ''logical and rational conclusion." The NAACP requested the probe.
Officials of the Rhode Island chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union said they believe that investigators had addressed the group's concerns, but wanted to see the report to judge whether the investigation was thorough.
Law enforcement officials had said Carpio hurt himself jumping from a third-story window and struggling with officers after he fatally shot Detective Sergeant James Allen with the detective's weapon while Allen was interviewing Carpio at police headquarters on April 17.
Five officers later converged on Carpio on a downtown street, and a violent struggle ensued as the officers tried to subdue Carpio and handcuff him. Kaiser said officers punched Carpio several times, including once in the face. He said the suspect punched, kicked, and at one point lodged his hand under his stomach to avoid being handcuffed.
Carpio and his family declined to talk directly with investigators, referring questions to their lawyers. The FBI was not given access to his medical records, Kaiser said.
Carpio's lawyer did not immediately return a phone message.