WESTBROOK, CT (WFSB) - A video posted to YouTube appears to show a Connecticut State trooper acting belligerent toward a man pulled over for speeding.
Trooper Matthew Spina, out of the barracks in Westbrook, has been identified as the officer seen in the video.
On Tuesday, state police issued a statement about the incident in which they called the trooper's behavior "disturbing."
In the video, the trooper said he was running the plate of another speeding suspect in his cruiser when the driver who recorded the video "flipped off" the trooper and then sped around him.
A traffic stop was then made.
At the beginning of the recording, the driver asks the trooper why he was following the other driver so closely.
The trooper responded by saying that the governor's office received complaints about speeders and other traffic violations. He also told the driver that he was going 60 mph in a 40 mph zone.
He also is never heard in the video asking the driver for his license or registration.
The trooper went on a profanity-laced tirade throughout the video during which he yelled at the driver and proceeded to search his vehicle for marijuana, which he saw during the traffic stop.
The driver claimed it was from a dispensary and that he had a "weed card." However, the trooper argued that it was not in its original dispensary container.
"I was just going to let you off with a citation," the trooper said. "Everyone's got something to say."
He told the driver to mind his business and be on his way.
Trooper Spina has been put on an administrative role at this time.
State Police Colonel Stavros Mellekas said internal affairs is investigating the entire incident, and will be speaking with the motorist and Trooper Spina.
Mellekas said more discipline can follow, depending on the results of the investigation.
For now, he said the trooper is getting help through an employee assistance program.
“Once the investigation is sustained and we see how it goes there will be discipline attached,” Mellekas said.
Here's the statement from state police:
The Connecticut State Police has been made aware of a video posted on social media involving one of our Troopers. While the Trooper’s behavior in the video is disturbing, it is not indicative of the great work of the women and men of the Connecticut State Police and their dedication to protecting and serving during this pandemic.
We hold our Troopers to high standards and the behavior displayed in the video is not reflective of the values of Commissioner Rovella or my administration. An internal affairs investigation has been initiated and the Trooper has been placed in an administrative capacity which does not allow him to interact with the public.
We do recognize that all of us everywhere are under extreme stress during this pandemic. For our troopers, they are dealing with the impact on their personal lives along with workplace stressors of being on the frontline. While not an excuse, we are sensitive to this and also referred the trooper to our employee assistance program. We have also recently launched a resiliency program to help all our employees dealing with this pandemic.
We will release more information as it becomes available.