BRATTLEBORO, Vt. — Two Vermont State Police troopers pleaded not guilty Tuesday to a misdemeanor reckless endangerment charge after one of them fired a bean bag round from a shotgun against a man who was allegedly acting irrationally.

During the brief hearing in Vermont Superior Court in Brattleboro, the attorneys for Sgt. Ryan Wood and Trooper Zachary Trocki entered the pleas on their behalf. Both men were then released on their own recognizance.

Prosecutors asked Judge Katherine Hayes if she would reconsider her decision to dismiss a separate count of simple assault that had been filed against the troopers. Hayes said last week the affidavit filed by police did not support the simple assault charge.

Hayes told the prosecutors from the Office of the Vermont Attorney General to file an updated affidavit.

“If you believe there are facts not contained in your affidavit that I should consider and that would warrant a reconsideration of probable cause as to the simple assault charge, happy to do that,” Hayes said.

In a statement, Vermont Attorney General Charity Clark said the decision to file charges against the troopers was made after the officer-involved-shooting case was reviewed by her office and that of the Orleans County State’s attorney. Clark said the man who was hit, even though he was carrying a saw, posed no imminent threat to anyone.


“Under Vermont law, every person has a right to be free from excessive use of force by officers acting under authority of the State,” said the news release from the attorney general’s office.

The two troopers were sent to a location in the southern Vermont town of Newfane on June 17, 2022, where a man was reportedly acting irrationally and causing damage. The state police troopers’ union says that when the troopers arrived, they found a man with a handheld saw on an elevated area at the back of the house.

The affidavit filed in the case says the man who was hit was repeatedly told by both troopers to drop what he was holding. He was hit with the bean bag round fired from about 80 feet away.

The man can be heard saying, “Help,” the affidavit said. He then got down on his knees and crawled to the edge, where he slipped and fell more than 10 feet, suffering a significant head injury.

The bean bag was fired by Trocki after being told to do so by Wood, the officer in charge at the scene.

In a statement, the Vermont Troopers’ Association said previously the troopers were performing their duties in good faith and they should not have been charged.

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