Police release dash cam video amid investigation into excessive - WFSB 3 Connecticut

Police release dash cam video amid investigation into excessive force

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Ricardo Perez was charged with reckless driving and assault of officers. (Hartford PD) Ricardo Perez was charged with reckless driving and assault of officers. (Hartford PD)

Police in Hartford released video of an incident at the center of an excessive force investigation.

The incident happened late on June 4, and involves a stolen car in Hartford.

Officers pursued that car, and the pursuit ended in West Hartford, where two people were taken into custody.

Video from that arrest was captured on a West Hartford police cruiser, and raised concerns.

"That there is obviously of serious concern to the police department and now to the state's attorney's office," said Deputy Police Chief Brian Foley.

In the video, an officer is seen “stomping” on a person who was handcuffed on the ground. That officer was identified as Sgt. Sean Spell, who was with the Hartford Police Department for 20 years, and recently retired a few weeks ago. 

"The following morning, based on the appearance solely on the mugshot because we weren't aware of the video at that point, we started an immediate internal investigation," Foley said.

The exact circumstances of the arrest are being investigated.

Police arrested Ricardo Perez and Emilio Diaz.

The police chase ended with Perez and Diaz being taken out of the car by officers, with officers reportedly punching the suspects in the process.

Hartford police said a preliminary review of the incident raises concerns of “excessive force” used by at least one officer.

The state’s attorney’s office is currently investigating.

Hartford police said they just got the “go ahead” to release that video on Wednesday.

“At the same time, we're not going to wait until the end of the investigation to release the facts to the public. We’ve seen nationally this has caused great distrust in the community. We were told this morning we could release the information. It was important for us to get it out to you today,” said Hartford Deputy Police Chief Brian Foley.

The investigation involves 31 officers from Hartford, and there are other officers from West Hartford and Connecticut State Police involved as well.

Annette Shack, of the Hartford chapter of the NAACP, said the video is troubling and heartbreaking. The NAACP is one of the organizations that met with Hartford police on Wednesday following the release of the videos.

"This is not the first time this has happened in Hartford, it's ongoing in Hartford and we always have to be vigilant about what's going on in our community," Shack said, adding that she is glad to see the department is making every effort to be transparent by the release of the videos, but said more work needs to be done to maintain the fragile relationship between the community and police.

"I'm just hoping that they will complete this investigation and from this investigation that we can see what Hartford, what efforts they've made in terms of community relations. And again to bring equality and justice for our community," Shack said.

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