Hartford community members addressed a controversial video of a Hartford police officer saying he was ‘trigger-happy.”
On Monday evening, members of the Hartford City Council, Greater Hartford, and CT State NAACP members, as well as other local leaders, addressed the video.
The video released on Friday showed Sgt. Stephen Barone telling a group that they would be checked for drugs and weapons, and if they tried to run away, he said he was “a little trigger-happy, I’m not going to lie.”
Community members addressed the actions of Barone and call for an immediate change in the department’s policy.
They believe Barone's words have harmed the community and some are calling for him to be fired.
"He's had training and he's really not appropriate in a city like Hartford or any police force to say that," said Larry Deutch from the Hartford City Council.
The man who captured the viral video believes this will all just eventually blow over and not much of anything will change.
"He immediately tried to scare us," said Rashawn Johnson.
Johnson said as soon as Barone approached his friends on Heath Street, he got nervous.
"We were outside, the police officers pulled up and I just turned my phone on and started recording," said Johnson.
Johnson said he took Barone's words as a threat.
"He basically just asked us to you now comply or die," Johnson said.
Barone was called to Heath Street for trespassing, but Johnson said there was no reason for Barone to say he was "trigger-happy" or that he could make money from pulling the trigger, which he implied in the video.
"I get paid a ton of money in overtime. If I have to shoot anybody, don't do anything stupid," Barone said in the video.
Johnson said he and his three friends received tickets for third-degree trespassing, but he feels like Barone is the one who showed his true colors and he should be out of his job.
"I honestly feel like someone like that shouldn't be a police officer. I don't feel like he's protecting and serving," Johnson said.
Barone was placed on administrative leave while the investigation continues.
Department leaders have called his behavior unacceptable, but not indicative of how the large majority of Hartford officers operate.
"What I saw in the video does not reflect the countless positive interactions our officers have in the community every day. It's not how we train our officers to interact in the public," said Assistant Chief Rafael Medina of the Hartford Police Department.
Other city council members will wait for the results of HPD's internal investigation.
Hartford City Council member TJ Clarke is calling on city leaders to take steps to ensure the police department is more diverse, with more minorities and Hartford residents in the force.
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