Connecticut police officer fired for 'trigger happy' comment


Published 10:00 PM EDT Oct 17, 2018

Connecticut police officer fired for 'trigger happy' comment

A police officer in Connecticut was fired Wednesday, months after video surfaced of him telling a group he was "trigger happy" while responding to a suspected trespassing call.

After video from the August incident spread on social media, Hartford police officer Stephen Barone faced backlash from city officials and activists over his comments.

"If anybody 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," Barone says in the video to a group of mostly black and Hispanic young men.

"This officer’s conduct does not reflect the values of our agency," Hartford Police Chief David Rosado said in a statement Wednesday, adding "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."

Barone and a police union official declined to comment to the Associated Press on Wednesday.

Later in the video, Barone tried to explain his comments to the men, saying he would lose thousands of dollars if he shot someone. He also told them that he would say "anything" if "it prevents things from escalating."

Many condemned the officer's remarks shortly after the incident.

"Regardless of the context or the intent, those statements are entirely unacceptable and represent a fundamental disregard for the conduct we expect and the standards we hold ourselves to," Assistant Chief of Police Rafael Medina said in a statement on Facebook in August.

Mayor Luke Bronin said the officer's conduct was "completely unacceptable," and city council president Gwendolyn Thames said it was "disgusting, to be quite honest," NBC News Connecticut reported in August.

Rashawn Johnson, who recorded the video, told NBC News Connecticut in August that he and his friends were having drinks on a friend's porch when officers arrived and began questioning them.

"We were all just in shock to hear him say that and glad there were other officers there that were more professional about their job," he told NBC.

Barone, who had been a sergeant, was demoted and assigned to desk duty in September after an internal investigation determined that he violated the department code of conduct, the Hartford Courant reported.

A 10-year veteran of the department, Barone was also suspended over a 2016 incident during which he turned off his dashboard camera, the Courant reported. Another officer kicked a handcuffed man who was on the ground during the altercation, the newspaper reported.

Police were also investigating Barone's conduct during a July traffic incident, Rosado said Wednesday.

Contributing: The Associated Press

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