HARTFORD, Conn. - A Hartford police officer recorded on camera threatening a group of minorities that he is “trigger happy” was fired.
Stephen Barone, a 10-year veteran of the department, discredited the department and violated its code of conduct when he said he felt “trigger happy” and used obscenities when talking to a group of seven men who were either black or Hispanic, internal affairs investigators determined, the Hartford Courant reported.
“It’s clear to me that there’s no scenario in which Mr. Barone can return to his duties as a productive member of the Hartford Police Department,” police Chief David Rosado said in a statement.
Barone admitted to investigators that he could have used a better choice of words but stood by his actions, believing them to be “effective in maintaining control,” the Courant reported.
Barone, a sergeant when the video was released in August, was demoted, his salary was lowered and he was assigned to desk duty during the investigation, the Courant reported.
A hearing officer recommended suspension, not termination, the Courant reported.
“I took everything -- I took both reports, I took the report from the hearing officer,” Rosado said. “I reviewed them for a few days to really think about this, because this is not a decision you can make lightly.”
Barone can appeal the termination. He did not comment to the Courant.
Barone had suspected the men of trespassing, prompting the stop in August.
This is not the first incident for Barone.
He broke department rules in July when he did not end a pursuit where two police officers drove their cruisers up to 60 mph the wrong direction on the highway, the Courant reported.
Barone was also disciplined for a 2016 incident where he turned off his cruiser’s dashcam during a chase that ended violently, the Courant reported.
Four months later, he was promoted to sergeant.
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