Hamden police have launched an internal affairs investigation into the actions of officers after a fatal motorcycle crash in New Haven.
The internal probe comes after witnesses reported seeing a Hamden police car chase a motorcycle into New Haven early Saturday morning and then drive off after the operator crashed on Dixwell Avenue near Munson Street.
The motorcycle operator, Maurice Adams, 27, died hours later after being transported to Yale-New Haven Hospital.
"I think it's bad. The cop shouldn't have left him there like that," said Maverick Jacobs, who says he heard the crash and then saw a Hamden police car stop at the scene and drive off without getting out to help the victim.
"I seen the Hamden cop pull up on the side of the intersection right here. He looked and then he pulled off," said Jacobs. "Regardless of what that young man done, the cop shouldn't have did him like that. It was just wrong. He shouldn't have pulled off. It was just wrong."
In a statement released Wednesday afternoon, Hamden police chief Thomas Wydra said the pursuit was for motor vehicle violations and that an internal affairs investigation is underway.
"Critical components of the investigation will be the determination of whether or not the motorcycle was being actively pursued at the time of the accident, whether the pursuit was justified, as well as an examination of the overall actions and conduct of the police personnel throughout the entire incident," said Wydra.
State police are investigating the crash and the actions of Hamden police to determine if any criminal charges should be filed.
The victim's family has hired attorney Michael Stratton to pursue a civil lawsuit in the case.
"This goes well beyond police misconduct. I mean, this is absolute cowardice to leave the scene of a terrible accident," said Stratton.
He is now calling for the officers involved to be placed on leave.
"We have to make sure that the rest of the public is safe because we have some cowboy cops who apparently don't have any respect for human life," said Stratton.
Hamden police have not commented on whether the officer or officers who were seen driving off from the crash site remain on duty.