Affidavit: Suspended Bridgeport cop threatened to kill victim
SHELTON — Bridgeport Police Officer Steven Figueroa allegedly told a victim he is accused of sexually assaulting that he would kill her if she reported the abuse and he lost his job, according to an arrest affidavit that Hearst Connecticut Media obtained Friday.
Figueroa, 29, of Canal Street in Shelton, was suspended without pay by Bridgeport police July 22, police spokesman Terron Jones said. Before that, he had been placed on administrative, or desk, duty from an earlier assault arrest.
The move to unpaid suspension came after Figueroa was arrested July 20 on a first-degree sexual assault charge by Shelton police, stemming from an incident earlier this month where he was also charged with third-degree assault, unlawful restraint, threatening and risk of injury to a child.
“(Office of Internal Affairs) is currently gathering all relevant documentation in reference to this incident and active investigation,” Jones said Friday.
The sexual assault charge is detailed in an affidavit for Figueroa’s arrest filed by Shelton Detective Richard Bango on July 15.
According to the affidavit, the victim and Figueroa have been in an “on and off again relationship.”
On June 26, the two had gotten into an argument at his apartment; on June 27, the affidavit said, Figueroa showed up unannounced at the victim’s apartment. The victim, who was home with a friend, said local police were called but no arrests were made, the affidavit said.
On June 29, Figueroa texted the victim around 2 a.m. to tell her he found her phone at his apartment. The victim was able to receive the text message on her Apple watch. The victim, who told detectives she was in the process of moving, asked Figueroa to drop the phone off and he refused.
Eventually, after repeated back-and-forth text messages, the victim went to his apartment to pick up the phone.
In the texts, provided in the affidavit, the victim repeatedly asked if he would come downstairs to give her the phone. He refused, the affidavit said.
When the victim went to Figueroa’s apartment, she claimed she “smelled alcohol on Figueroa” and an argument ensued, the affidavit said.
The victim went into Figueroa’s bedroom to look for her phone and he pushed her out of the room, the affidavit said. In the room, the affidavit said, was Figueroa’s 2-month-old child.
“She stated she started to yell and he put his hands over her mouth and threw her to the floor then hit her on the left side of her face,” Bango wrote in the affidavit. “The victim did have visible marks and redness on her face and head.”
The affidavit said the victim and Figueroa got into a struggle and he allegedly “dragged her into his bedroom,” where the baby was. The victim told detectives the baby started to cry and Figueroa went to check on the baby and punched the victim in the back while doing so, the affidavit said.
At that point, the victim said, she tried again to leave and Figueroa “grabbed her and threw her on the floor again. The victim stated throughout the incident she was crying that she wanted to leave but Figueroa would not let her.”
“The victim stated at one point there was a knock on the door and Figueroa put his hands over her mouth and told her to keep quiet because if it was the police they would both get arrested,” the affidavit said.
After that, she told detectives she again asked Figueroa if she could leave and he told her “he would let her leave when he calmed down,” the affidavit said. At that point, she told detectives, “Figueroa started to apologize and began kissing her” and that she was crying and still trying to leave.
In a press release regarding Figueroa’s arrest, Shelton police said officers had knocked on the door to make contact after getting a call about a disturbance but “were unable to make contact with anyone at the address.”
The affidavit said the two officers who responded “cleared the call when no one answered the door.” It was unclear if the knocking that the victim claimed she heard was police.
The affidavit said he held the victim so she couldn’t get off the bed. He repeatedly tried to have sex with her, the victim told police, despite her telling him “that she did not want to do that,” the affidavit said.
After, the affidavit said, “Figueroa told her if she told anyone about last night he would get arrested and lose his job. The victim stated he told her he would kill her if that happened.”
According to the affidavit, a neighbor at Figueroa’s apartment complex called in a disturbance around 4:45 a.m. June 29 that woke up her and her daughter. She told police it was a “loud fight” and that “she could hear someone was being thrown to the ground several times and a woman crying and screaming.”
The witness told police, “the sounds were not that of just normal arguing, they were horrific and it sounded like extreme violence was taking place. I was in fear for the screaming woman and did not go back to sleep that night,” the affidavit said.
The victim reported the sexual assault to Shelton police June 29, although it’s unclear at what time.
The affidavit said detectives went to Figueroa’s apartment later June 29 to talk to him, but it’s unclear at what time this happened. The affidavit said Figueroa told detectives, “the victim was attacking him” and that if he was going to be arrested, she should be, too.
An Office of Internal Affairs investigation into the Shelton allegations is ongoing, police and city officials said earlier this month. Depending on the results of the investigation, Figueroa could be reprimanded or his position with Bridgeport police terminated. It is rare for OIA to file its report before a court case has been resolved.
According to the affidavit, police found that Figueroa had been “arrested two times prior for family violence.”
Mentioned in the affidavit are an April 2018 arrest in Bridgeport for breach of peace and another in June 2018 in Milford for second-degree breach of peace and violation of a protective order.
But not mentioned in the affidavit was another arrest by Stratford police in November 2017. For that case, Figueroa was charged with third-degree criminal mischief and disorderly conduct.
At the time of the most recent Shelton charges and arrests, Figueroa had six months left on a conditional discharge from a September 2018 conviction for second-degree breach of peace.
Any survivors or victims of domestic violence in Connecticut can call the 24-hour statewide hotline at 888-774-2900. Para español, 844-831-9200.