Bridgeport Police Look to Purchase Dash Cameras for Cruisers - NBC Connecticut

Bridgeport Police Look to Purchase Dash Cameras for Cruisers

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Bridgeport Police May Soon Use Dashcams

    After an incident between a Bridgeport police officer and a teenage suspect, the department says it is looking to buy dashcams for its cruisers.

    (Published Wednesday, Nov. 15, 2017)

    There is more fallout from the controversial video of a Bridgeport police officer striking a teenager during an arrest.

    The Bridgeport Police Department is now looking to buy dashboard cameras for its cruisers, department spokesperson Av Harris said.

    An internal excessive force investigation is underway after the video surfaced showing Officer Christina Arroyo hitting 18-year-old Aaron Kearney on the head during an arrest last Friday after a minor traffic accident.

    "It didn't look good on the video and I'll come out and I'll say that but we need to wait," Bridgeport Police Chief AJ Perez said Monday. "Facts before acts."

    According to a department press release, after officers tried writing a court summons for driving with a suspended license, Kearney became belligerent and violent toward police, including "kicking, hitting and spitting" on them, but that part of the story wasn’t caught on camera.

    "Every day I see police reports filed that it’s the word of one police officer against the word of a defendant, a citizen," Bridgeport Attorney Peter Finch said. "Why can’t we have cameras to support what’s in these police reports that a lot of times are taken as scripture?”

    The City of Bridgeport would have to foot the bill up front for the dash cams, but state funding would be available for reimbursement, Harris told NBC Connecticut.

    "Anything that would help because this is the community and we also want to know what’s going on in our community," Daniele West of Bridgeport said. "But we also want to know why cops take certain actions that they do.”

    State Representative Christopher Rosario said he met with community leaders and the Bridgeport police chief to discuss what happened between the officer and the teen.

    "If the Internal Affairs investigation finds that there was wrong doing, we are asking that the officer(s) involved be immediately separated from the Bridgeport Police Department and that charges be filed against them," Rosario said. "While we are still learning the details about the incident, we renew our call to expand the use of non-lethal force and other de-escalation tactics by the Bridgeport Police Department."

    Finch is the attorney representing Julyian Fyffe, the 21-year-old who was shot twice by a Bridgeport police officer back in May when police say they were trying to stop a stolen car. This police shooting that killed Jayson Negron, who was driving the car, is still under investigation, Finch said.

    "We’re still trying to see what if any videos exist of the actual incident with Fyffe and Jayson Negron and videos like I said are going to show the truth and what actually happened," Finch said. Bridgeport police have said the officer fired in self-defense after the 15-year-old backed the car into him.

    Dash cams could help the public and police the next time a Bridgeport officer’s actions come under fire.

    "It’s a win-win for both parties," Finch said. "The police can protect themselves and their reputation and citizens can protect their constitutional rights."

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