Vermont troopers referred to court diversion in beanbag shooting case

Two Vermont state troopers have been referred to court diversion following charges of reckless endangerment after they fired bean bag rounds from a shotgun against a man who was acting irrationally, the state attorney general said.

The man who was hit June 17, 2022, in Newfane fell from a roof and suffered a head injury.

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State Police Sgt. Ryan Wood, 37, and Trooper Zachary Trocki, 30, each pleaded not guilty to a misdemeanor charge of reckless endangerment in May. The parties have agreed to have the case referred to court diversion, the attorney general’s office said Thursday.

“In this case, it is my hope that this referral will allow the victim, the police officers, and the community to heal and move forward together,” said Attorney General Charity Clark in a statement. “Through a restorative justice process, people take responsibility for their actions and discuss with the victim and the community how to repair the harm caused.”

David Sleigh, the lawyer for the troopers, said in a statement that Wood and Trocki “understand that with better training, the situation could have been handled differently, leading to a more positive outcome for everyone involved.”

He said the two officers see the diversion process as a chance for personal growth and improvement and hope the situation will contribute to enhanced training for them and their colleagues and bring a level of satisfaction to the victim.