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Waterbury police officer fired for misconduct against driver while directing traffic

Police chief calls Officer Hinkle's actions "unacceptable," saying it won't be tolerated

WATERBURY, Conn. — A seven-year veteran of the Waterbury Police Department was fired after an internal affairs investigation found he was acting outside of the department's policies. 

On Dec. 13 at around 12:00 p.m., Officer James Hinkle was directing traffic at the intersection in the area of Thomaston Avenue and Homer Street after a mechanical failure of the traffic lights at the intersection. Hinkle was directing traffic while the lights were in flashing mode.

 A car proceeded through the intersection while he was directing traffic. He directed the car to stop and hit the driver's side with his hand. The car ultimately stopped. The interaction between the officer and driver lead to an internal affairs investigation regarding his actions and conduct.

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Hinkle was immediately placed on paid administrative leave pending the outcome of the investigation.

He was terminated on Monday according to officials, saying his actions and behaviors were in violation of departmental policies. 

"His conduct during this encounter with a citizen of the community is unacceptable and not representative of the men and women serving the Waterbury Police Department. WPD officers are trained to demonstrate the highest level of professionalism when performing their duties," said Waterbury Police Department Chief Fernando Spagnolo.

Waterbury Police Department released bodycam footage of the incident where Hinkle is seen screaming at the woman directing her to pull over.

The woman, who has not been identified, is seen apologizing, saying she misunderstood and asking the officer not to yell at her. The woman asks if there is anyone else with him, to which the officer responds with "pull over g**d*****, I'm not repeating myself." 


"Did you not see this bright yellow vest standing in the middle of the street," the Hinkle said in the video. "This means stop, this means stop." 

The woman explained she thought the officer was waving at her to go and did not see until she already passed. 

"I'm so sorry, I didn't realize what was going on. It was very confusing," she said.

The officer told the woman she almost ran him over in the middle of the street. 

The woman was directed to get out of the car to which the officer continued yelling at the woman saying he almost killed her. 

Hinkle served in his seventh year with the Waterbury Police Department and was assigned to the patrol division prior to his termination.

Jareliz Diaz is a digital content producer at FOX61 News. She can be reached at jdiaz@fox61.com


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