IT IS TIME TO GET SERIOUS ABOUT HPD BODYCAMSThere is an ominous thundercloud on the horizon forming over HPD. I am not going to get into a lot of the details as the investigation is ongoing, but suffice it to say it is probably going to be bad.
The incident involves allegations being made of a handcuffed prisoner allegedly being assaulted while in HPD custody. Some of the actions can be explained , others caught on dashcam video have no possibility of being explained.
The incident is currently in the hands apparently of the Litchfield County States Attorney and may eventually be investigated by the Connecticut State Police to get to the truth. Our trust in our Police Department demands that and I expect nothing less from Chief Rovella and the West Hartford Police Department. The incident actually happened after a chase of a stolen car that had reportedly struck a Police officer on Park Street. The stolen car was eventually stopped by the use of stop sticks when the car was involved in a crash near Flatbush Avenue in West Hartford.
Although there are numerous different angles of dash cam video available, it still shows the need for body cameras, and if there was the inclination for "bad " behavior, maybe officers wearing body cameras would think twice about any improper behavior, no matter how much adrenaline was flowing after a long chase.
This is going to be a bumpy road for HPD to navigate, but the public trust demands transparency. Not everything is at it seems or is rumored, but the video and a professional investigation will expose the truth, both good and bad. With that being said, it is fortunate that a Police Chief that has a good relationship with the residents is in a position to explain the actions of his officers .
More on this as details develop, but please keep an open mind and wait for the facts, not the gossip
UPDATE FROM HPD AT 6:06pm
On Saturday, June 4, 2016 Officers of the Hartford and West Hartford Police Departments and Connecticut State Troopers engaged in a motor vehicle pursuit that began in Hartford and ended with the arrest of the driver and his passenger in West Hartford. The pursuit began when a Hartford Police Officer determined that the car in question was stolen. When officers attempted to stop the car the driver sped away and led police on a chase through several residential streets in Hartford. When the pursuit reached West Hartford, police deployed “stop sticks,” which brought the car to a halt.
In the course of arresting both occupants of the stolen vehicle, officers used force-including the use to TASER-to affect the arrests. Both arrestees appear to have suffered apparent facial injuries at some point. The exact circumstances of each arrest are as yet unknown, but a West Hartford Police cruiser camera appears to show a police officer kicking or stomping one of the arrestees after that person was handcuffed.
Upon preliminary review of the incident and available evidence, it appears there is a question of excessive force used by the officers. As a result, the Hartford Police Department launched and immediate internal investigation on Sunday June 5, 2016. Contact has been made between HPD, West Hartford Police, Connecticut State Police and the Connecticut State’s Attorney’s office. This incident will be reviewed and investigated by the Connecticut State’s Attorney’s office to determine if criminal charges are warranted.