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A Hartford, Connecticut police officer has been terminated this week after he was caught on video taunting a group of Black and Hispanic young men with the warning that he was feeling a little “trigger happy.”
Wednesday, police Chief David Rosadof fired now former officer Stephen Barone, due to his failure to follow the department’s code of conduct, his inappropriate interaction with the community and evidence of racial profiling.
“After reviewing the findings related to these two incidents, it’s clear to me that there’s no scenario in which Mr. Barone can return to his duties as a productive member of the Hartford Police Department,” Rosado said via the Hartford Courant.
“As a department, we are committed to building and rebuilding a strong relationship with residents across our city based on mutual respect, accountability, transparency and a shared desire to live in a strong Hartford.”
According to Fox 61, video of the incident was captured in August and captured by Rashawn Johnson, one of the seven people stopped by Barone.
The officer stopped the young men on “quality of life concerns” then told them not to run because he was inclined to shoot.
“At this point, you’re all being stopped under suspicion of trespassing,” he informed them the evening of August 9th. “We’re going to get everyone’s information. We’re going to go through and make sure no one has guns or drugs on ‘em, and we’re going to get everyone’s name. If anyone wants to fight or run… I’m a little trigger-happy guys, I’m not gonna lie, and I get paid a ton of money in overtime, if I had to shoot somebody. Don’t do anything stupid.”
The release of the video prompted members of the community to call for Barone’s termination. And now that their request has been met, Chief Rosado plans to make it mandatory for officers to attend community meetings intended to help them better engage with residents.
City Council President Gwendolyn Thames told Fox 61 that she hoped this incident will open up continued training for cultural sensitivity.
“We need to make sure that we’re continuing to have a department that’s reflective of the community that it serves, that we are providing proper training,” said Thames.