Hartford excessive force investigation leads to retired officer' - WFSB 3 Connecticut

Hartford excessive force investigation leads to retired officer's arrest

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(Hartford police photo) (Hartford police photo)

An officer seen in dash cam video kicking a stolen vehicle suspect faces charges.

The video, which was recorded over the summer as part of an internal investigation by the Hartford Police Department and an outside agency, appeared to show now-retired Sgt. Sean Spell assaulting the suspect.

Deputy Chief Brian Foley of Hartford police said the department's goal in the case has been transparency, which is why the video was released. 

He said more disciplinary action could be coming.

"There's cameras everywhere," he said. "That's the society and the fact of life. And we want our officers to know that and embrace that."

Officers caught up with the stolen car after a pursuit through Hartford and West Hartford.

Two suspects were removed from the vehicle, then appear to be assaulted, according to police.

During the investigation, Spell said his actions were justified.

He said he admitted to stomping the head of 38-year-old Emilio Diaz. He claimed Diaz was high on PCP and spit blood at officers.

Spell said he didn't have any gloves to put on, so he used his foot to force Diaz to the ground.

"You have suspects that are high on drugs and it's emotional and human error can occur and we're trying to train our officers to do better," Foley said.

Spell is facing assault and breach of peace charges.

He's scheduled to face a judge later this month.

Diaz and another suspect face multiple charges for their cases.

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