HARTFORD, CT (WFSB) -- An officer who was caught on camera saying he was “trigger happy,” has been fired.
The video surfaced over the summer of then Officer Stephen Barone who was recorded telling a group that they would be checked for drugs and weapons, and if they tried to run away, he said was “a little trigger happy, I’m not going to lie.”
He had responded to an incident reported on Heath Street when the video was recorded.
In the video, Barone went on to say “he didn’t want to have to shoot somebody if they did flee or fight, so they shouldn’t ‘do anything stupid’.”
Barone had been placed on administrative leave and was later demoted. The police department announced his termination on Wednesday.
In a statement, the Hartford Police Chief David Rosado said “Our success as a police department depends on our relationship with the community we serve. Every day, the men and women of the Hartford Police Department are out doing good police work with professionalism and respect, and this officer’s conduct does not reflect the values of our agency. I did not make this decision lightly. We hold ourselves to high standards, and when we fall short, we take responsibility for it. After reviewing the findings related to these two incidents, 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. As a department, we are committed to building and rebuilding a strong relationship with residents across our city based on mutual respect, accountability, transparency, and a shared desire to live in a strong Hartford.”
A statement released by ACLU of CT said, "That Hartford Police Department's decision to fire Stephen Barone is the direct result of Hartford residents demanding accountability from their police department and Rashawn Johnson's bravery in speaking out about Barone's threats. It is good news that Barone is no longer employed by Hartford, but the department never should have promoted him in the first place. Hartford's overall lack of police accountability guarantees a bad system, not just bad apples. As long as Hartford's mayor's office and some city council members continue to bargain away Hartford's ability to create true police accountability, the kind of unacceptable behavior displayed by Stephen Barone will be a feature of Hartford's police department, not a bug."
On Thursday, members of Hartford's faith community responded to the comment by Barone by calling for a combination of peace and action.
"We have to speak out. One of the most important things is not to be behind the scenes, but to work as a collaborative," said Pastor Ronald Holmes.
Religious leaders say this is only the beginning. They, along with members of the NAACP and city council, are calling for Hartford leaders to take steps to make the police department more diverse and culturally sensitive.
"Because that's the only way that you're going to bridge the gap between public safety officers and the community," said T.J. Clarke, Hartford City Council.
Holmes said the man who caught Barone on camera, Rashawan Johnson, is still struggling with the fallout.
"Obviously he and the other young men were mesmerized by what happened. We know that their mental health has been changed about police in general," Holmes said.