Thea Digiammerino

Hartford Police Detective Charged With DUI Used Racial Slurs: Police

A Hartford police detective who was charged with driving under the influence in Plainville early Sunday morning is also accused of using several racial slurs during that arrest.

Plainville police said they stopped Robert Lanza, 44, of Wolcott, after Bristol police received reports of an erratic driver swerving and weaving all over Route 72 at 12:18 a.m. on Aug. 27.

Witnesses said he crossed over the fog lines and almost hit the guardrail several times.

Officers saw Lanza’s gray Honda Accord pull into 72 Commons and approached the car.

Lanza told police he is a Hartford police officer, according to the prosecutor’s report, and he appeared intoxicated, slurred his words and smelled of alcohol even with chewing tobacco in his mouth, according to Plainville police.

On Wednesday, Hartford Police Deputy Chief Brian Foley said while Lanza was arrested, he used several racial slurs that were captured on video and audio.

Lanza refused to say whether he had anything to drink and declined medical attention, police said.

Responding officers performed a number of sobriety tests on Lanza.

Lanza was charged with DUI and interfering with an officer and released after posting $10,000 bond. He is due in Bristol Superior Court on Sept. 5.

Lanza has been with the Hartford Police Department for more than 11 years and is assigned to the Special Investigations Unit.

Mayor Luke Bronin provided the following statement on the case:

“We expect all members of the Hartford Police Department to hold themselves to the high standards of their noble profession, and Detective Lanza’s behavior appears to have fallen far short. I am deeply troubled by his use of racial and ethnic slurs during this incident, which is not only offensive and unacceptable, but also undermines the tremendous work our police do every day to build a true partnership with our Hartford community based on trust and respect. I commend Chief Rovella for immediately initiating an internal investigation, and for the Department’s ongoing commitment to transparency and accountability.”

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