The East Hartford Police Department said it has opened an internal and criminal investigation into allegations that an officer used extreme force on a 12-year-old boy.
The family is accusing Officer Woodrow Tinsley of repeatedly pushing and punching the boy in the stomach and face. And at one point, the 12-year-old, who is not being named, was thrown to the ground.
The Huaman family said the whole incident started in their apartment two weeks ago when their son didn't want to go to a court ordered evaluation.
State officials called the Department of Children and Families, and then the East Hartford Police Department to try to get him off the couch.
However, the 12-year-old told Eyewitness News that when Tinsley responded, he turned to force and allegedly dragged the boy to the door while he punched him in the head and stomach.
The family told Eyewitness News that the boy suffered injuries to his face, neck, arms and internal organs during the incident.
As the incident was occurring, the boy's mother said she screamed for the officer to stop.
"The mother should get justice for what happened to her son. If the cop did indeed do what he did, then he should be dealt with the proper way," said Danielle McNally of East Hartford.
Eyewitness News spoke with police officers and residents Wednesday who know Tinsley and even referred to him as a good guy.
"I was very surprised, shocked, very shocked," said Bob Parlante of East Hartford.
The president of the East Hartford Police Officers Association released a statement on the incident.
"At this point, these are only allegations and Officer Tinsley is entitled to due process both administratively and criminally against any allegations that are made," the statement said Thursday. "I would ask that people keep an open mind until the investigations are complete."
Tinsley is on administrative leave until both internal and criminal investigations are complete, according to the East Hartford Police Department.
The Huaman family told Eyewitness News that they are planning a lawsuit against the city of East Hartford and have hired attorney James Brewer to represent them.
However, Brewer has a history with the law as well. In 2004, Brewer himself was accused of assaulting a West Hartford police officer. He was acquitted of that charge, but convicted on breach of peace, according to the chief disciplinary council.
In 2005, Brewer was disbarred for five years, but has since been reinstated.
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