State's Attorney Investigating Possible Excessive Force by Hartford Officers

The state's attorney's office is investigating a possible excessive force incident involving several Hartford Police officers and an internal investigation is also underway.

"It's going to be handled externally. And what's important is that it's going to be investigated internally, impartially and without bias outside of the police agency, outside of this entire Hartford region. So, they're the ones who will decide that," Deputy Chief Brian Foley said during a news conference on Wednesday,

On June 4, police began pursuing a driver in a stolen Toyota Camry who was loudly honking his horn at Zion and Glendale streets in Hartford.

The driver sped off, running stop signs and leading officers through several residential streets before the chase ended on Flatbush Avenue in West Hartford when officers deployed "speed sticks," according to Foley and a Hartford police report. 

A West Hartford Police camera appears to show Hartford officers kicking or stomping one of the suspects, who was in handcuffs, police said.

Both men, Ricardo Perez, 34, of Hartford, and Emilio Diaz, 38, of Hartford, had to be hospitalized and Hartford Police said they launched a preliminary investigation the following day when the suspects' bruised and cut faces appeared in mugshots and raised concerns in the department. 

"This is a man who's been arrested several times. Eighteen times in the City of Hartford. He's a convicted felon. He's run from the cops at least four times before this," Foley said about Perez. "He has multiple reckless driving charges. Multiple interfering with police charges. He's violent towards our officers and does not care about society and the safety of our citizens."

Police also said Diaz faces several drug-related charges.

As officers approached the car, which had been stolen from New Britain, Perez moved the vehicle and struck a Hartford detective, according to police, and Perez struck four Hartford Police vehicles during the pursuit of the vehicle. 

Police also said they found PCP and marijuana in the car.

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

Both appeared to have "suffered apparent facial injuries at some point," Foley said, and the police report notes that they had "several cuts, scrapes and abrasions."

Perez's mug shot shows a swollen eye and bandages, while Rivera's shows a gash in his head.

The mayor of Hartford said the city will cooperate with the investigation.

NBC Connecticut reached out to Perez and Diaz for comment and did not hear back, but the police union released a statement late Tuesday night.

"The Hartford Police Union is aware of the incident and have spoken to the Officers involved and will await the outcome of the investigation prior to making any further comment," police said.

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