EDITORIAL: Bridgeport Beating Video Should End Careers
Jan 29, 2013 (The Hartford Courant - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) --
Careers should be terminated if an investigation bears out what seems obvious on a video posted anonymously on YouTube earlier this month: three veteran Bridgeport police officers kicking and stomping a suspect already brought down by a stun gun.
Such apparent brutality as seen on the video is inexcusable. Officers who engage in it should forfeit their badges.
The three officers in the video, all 10-year veterans of the Bridgeport Police Department, been put on paid desk duty pending results of an internal affairs investigation ordered by Bridgeport Police Chief Joseph Gaudett Jr. Chief Gaudett also referred the incident to the Bridgeport state prosecutor's office.
Although the officers' brutal conduct appears unmistakable, a thorough investigation is in order so that as tight a case as possible can be built for whatever action the department and prosecutors decide to take.
The incident, which took place in a local park, is nearly two years old. The video did not surface until recently. The suspect who was stomped and kicked in the video did not file an excessive force complaint against the officers. It also should be determined whether the suspect was carrying a gun.
If the facts of the incident are as they appear on the video, there should be three immediate vacancies on the police department's roster.
Chief Gaudett needs to reassess whether he and his police commanders are transmitting the high standards of conduct expected of officers clearly and forcefully enough. If the YouTube video is any indication, some officers missed the memo on brutality.
The Bridgeport incident proves why it's a good idea to provide legal protection to bystanders who take videos or photographs of police at work -- and it also explains why some police officers are opposed to the practice.
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