Ex-Hartford Cop Linked to Excessive Force Probe Charged With Assault

The retired Hartford police officer who is purportedly seen kicking a handcuffed suspect lying on the ground in a dashcam video linked to an investigation into possible excessive force has been arrested and charged with assault, according to Hartford police.

Sgt. Sean Spell, 46, was arrested on Thursday night for his involvement June 4 in the excessive force case during the arrests of Ricardo Perez and Emilio Diaz, both of Hartford.

Perez's mug shot shows a swollen eye and bandages. The photo of Diaz shows a gash in his head and he has five staples in his head. He also had abrasions to his back and right knee.

Spell wrote in his incident report that Diaz had been spitting blood that was leaking from a forehead wound onto another officer during his arrest. 

"Diaz was spitting out blood out of his mouth towards me," Spell wrote in the report, filed the day after the arrest of Diaz and Ricardo Perez. Diaz was kneeling and handcuffed when Spell approached the suspect, the report said.

"I told Diaz to stop spitting blood and to lay down prone, or I would force him down, which he refused to comply," Spell wrote in the report. "Not being in possession of latex gloves, I used my right foot forcefully onto the back side of Diaz's head, and forced him to the ground." 

The incident reports details the accounts of all officers involved in the arrest of the two men, who were accused of leading police on a chase in a stolen a Toyota Camry from Hartford to West Hartford.

Perez led officers through several residential streets before the chase ended on Flatbush Avenue in West Hartford when officers deployed "speed sticks," according to Deputy Police Chief Brian Foley and a Hartford police report. 

As officers approached the car after the chase, Perez hit a Hartford detective with the car, according to police, and hit four Hartford Police vehicles during the pursuit of the vehicle. 

A dashcam mounted in a West Hartford Police cruiser appears to show Hartford officers kicking or stomping one of the suspects, who was in handcuffs, according to police.

Spell said he "detected a strong, distinct odor of PCP emanating from Diaz, which usually involves violent behavior."

Officer Stephen Barone wrote in his incident report that after the arrest, police found PCP and marijuana while searching the Camry. 

Hartford police obtained the dashcam videos from the state's attorney, who is investigating the incident to avoid any conflict of interest. 

Perez and Diaz had to be hospitalized and Hartford Police said they launched a preliminary investigation the next day when the suspects' bruised and cut faces appeared in mugshots and raised concerns in the department. 

The report from Hartford Police said Perez violently struggled with officers and a West Hartford officer, Carlo Faienza, used a stun gun, but it did not affect the suspect, so an officer punched Perez in the torso.

Faienza wrote that Perez "appeared to be under the influence of something and was showing signs of enormous bursts of strength by keeping his hands underneath his body."

In June, attorney Corey Brinson filed notices on behalf of Perez and Diaz, alleging police used excessive force when arresting Diaz and said they were physically beaten and mentally traumatized.

Brinson told the Hartford Courant that his "client denies spitting blood at anybody."

Spell has been charged with second-degree breach of peace and third-degree assault. He was released and is due in court on Dec. 21. 

He was part of the department for 20 years retired following the pursuit. 

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