HARTFORD — The following is a reaction from ACLU of Connecticut executive director David McGuire to footage of Hartford Police Department employee Stephen Barone telling a group of people that he was “trigger happy,” and “could [get] a ton of money on overtime if I have to shoot somebody”:
“This video confirms that Hartford’s emphasis on ‘quality of life’ policing is not an investment in stronger communities, but in over policing and under protecting some city residents. As long as Hartford’s executive branch and police department continue to condone policing without checks and balances created by and for the people, this kind of unacceptable behavior will be a feature of the police department, not a bug.
This police supervisor’s lack of respect for people’s lives and safety is a crisis of the Hartford Police Department and Mayor of Hartford’s own making. While the Hartford Police Department and Mayor Bronin pay lip service to transparent and accountable policing, their actions tell another story. The Hartford Police Department chose to promote Sergeant Stephen Barone to his position in charge of the city’s ‘quality of life’ Community Response Unit after Barone had been disciplined for violating department policies in a high-profile excessive use of force case. Mayor Bronin has championed unproven, broken-windows-style policing by pursuing millions of dollars to expand the city’s massive police surveillance network and supporting the creation of the Community Response Unit, all without creating public controls.
True police accountability and transparency require more than an internal police investigation into this single incident.”