BRIDGEPORT, Conn. — A Bridgeport lawmaker is calling for dash cameras to be installed on all city police cars after a Facebook video captured officers allegedly beating a teenager during a weekend arrest.
State Rep. Christopher Rosario (D) said Tuesday he and other community leaders met with Bridgeport Police Chief AJ Perez to discuss the incident.
Rosario and the Bridgeport state lawmakers told Perez that state funds are available to acquire and install dash cameras in police cruisers. They said they would apply for the funds to immediately outfit every cruiser.
The group is also "calling for a swift and thorough investigation and public release of the findings,” Rosario said. “If the Internal Affairs investigation finds that there was wrongdoing, we are asking that the officer(s) involved be immediately separated from the Bridgeport Police Department and that charges be filed against them.”
On Friday night, a cellphone video captured the arrest of an 18-year-old Bridgeport man after a minor car accident on Seaview Avenue. A group of officers holds down Aaron Kearney Jr. on a car while Officer Christina Arroyo punches him repeatedly in the face, the video shows.
Arroyo reportedly said she feared Kearney had a concealed weapon after he became verbally aggressive toward officers, the Connecticut Post said. She said punched him to attempt to free his arms, the Post said.
Kearney was charged with breach of peace and assault on a police officer, police said. He had no insurance for his car and was driving with a suspended license.
Arroyo and the other officers involved have been put on administrative duty pending an investigation by Bridgeport Police Office of Internal Affairs, Perez said.
“While we are still learning the details about the incident, we renew our call to expand the use of non-lethal force and other de-escalation tactics by the Bridgeport Police Department,” Rosario added. “We look forward to working with Chief Perez and his staff to help bridge the gap between the community and his department, but acts of police brutality will not be tolerated.”
The video posted on Facebook, which was recorded by Kearney's mother, shows officers forcing the teen onto the hood of a car, then Arroyo begins to punch the side of his face while the other officers hold him.
His mother can be heard screaming repeatedly, “Don’t hurt my son, don’t hurt my son.”
At one point, the Arroyo yells to her, “Get back, or you're next.”
"In the event that an officer is found to have knowingly and willfully violated policy by using excessive force in the performance of their duties, I will make every effort to see that officer separated from their employment with the Bridgeport Police Department and where applicable arrested and charged with a crime," Perez said in a statement Sunday.
Click here to view the video on Facebook.
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