RI state trooper accused of assaulting suspect

Rhode Island State Police headquarters in North Scituate.

A state trooper is facing a misdemeanor assault charge after allegedly using physical force against a man detained on a traffic violation.

State Police Superintendent Col. Steven O'Donnell said Wednesday that James Donnelly-Taylor has been indicted on a charge of simple assault and is suspended with pay. He is to be arraigned May 21. It's not immediately known who is representing him.

O'Donnell said Donnelly-Taylor is accused of assaulting Lionel Monsanto Feb. 26 after arresting him for driving with an expired license. O'Donnell said Monsanto allegedly was confrontational and acting aggressively.

"While in custody, the suspect's behavior led to a confrontation in the cell block and trooper Donnelly-Taylor employed use of force," he said.

O'Donnell said Donnelly-Taylor's behavior started during the motor vehicle stop and in custody at the barracks.

"His words, his mannerisms. Challenging troopers with his statements," he said.

O'Donnell did not go into detail about how much force was used on Monsanto.

According to O'Donnell, Donnelly-Taylor filed simple assault and disorderly conduct charges against Monsanto that were later dismissed.

O'Donnell said Donnelly-Taylor is "a good trooper" who has been with the state police for five years.

He said an internal investigation led to the indictment.

NBC 10 contributed to this report.