No criminal charges for officer in shooting
BENNINGTON -- State's Attorney Erica Marthage has completed her review of an April 22 incident in which a Bennington Police sergeant shot a knife-wielding man in the police station lobby, and has cleared him of any criminal misconduct.
Marthage said her review of such incidents is a routine part of the procedure and it was filed earlier this week. She said Bennington Police Chief Paul Doucette has been notified.
The Vermont Attorney General's Office will also review the incident, Marthage said, which is also standard procedure.
Asked an officer to shoot him
According to Vermont State Police, on April 22 Gregory Filo, 42, of Safford Street, went to the Bennington Police Department in the morning and asked an officer to shoot him because he was in pain. Sources say Filo arrived at the emergency room at Southwestern Vermont Medical Center, which offers counseling services through United Counseling Service. Privacy laws have not allowed the hospital or UCS to say if Filo was treated by them, and it is unclear where he was between the morning hours and evening, when he returned to the police station with a knife.
His friend, Charles Coppolino, had followed Filo to the police station from the apartment building they shared. According to police, Filo made stabbing motions at Coppolino, leading a dispatcher to believe he had been injured. She told officers this had happened, and they entered the lobby with their guns drawn.
Police said Filo would not drop the knife, and brandished it at them while he advanced. He was shot once in the abdomen by Sgt. Michael Plusch, who has been on the force since 2000. Filo survived and has pleaded not guilty to two counts of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon. He is being held without bail, and a competency evaluation has been ordered.
Coppolino told the Banner in an interview that he never feared Filo would hurt him, contradicting information in the police affidavit. He also disputed the police account of the situation, saying Filo had the knife held above his head but he did not advance on them or brandish it.
Coppolino said Filo is a devout Catholic and was trying to get police to kill him in order to avoid committing suicide. He said his friend is not a violent person and is quite gentle, but has a mental health issue which he was being treated for at UCS.
Contact Keith Whitcomb Jr. at email@example.com or follow him on Twitter @KWhitcombjr.
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