BRIDGEPORT — The American Civil Liberties Union is speaking out after a young man was seen on a social media video being struck by a police officer.
The ACLU said they watched the video and was shocked.
Now they are looking at a state-wide solution by taking disciplinary actions away from an officer’s job.
“We’ve seen time and time again Bridgeport Police Department can not take care of their own business, they have officers that are doing things that are patently unconstitutional by violating people’s basic liberties and they are just getting away with it and going back to work after the file is finished out,” said David McGuire, who is the executive director of ACLU Connecticut.
Officer Gianni Capozziello pulled over a Red Volkswagen on Jane Street late Friday night after noticing it matched the description of a stolen vehicle.
After seeing the video make its rounds across Facebook and Twitter, the ACLU said something need to be done immediately.
David McGuire said, “The video is very concerning, but what it really does is peg the question about leadership of the Bridgeport Police Department, over the past couple of years we’ve seen many instances where officers have used violence in resulting in serious injury and death of people in Bridgeport.
In the video, the driver exits the vehicle and can be seen walking away from the car.
In the police report, Capozziello states, “I observed both of his hands drop below his waistline. Fearing [he] may be reaching for a weapon I utilized the magazine well area of my pistol as an emergency impact weapon.”
Bridgeport Police Chief Armando Perez said in a statement that he ordered Officer Capozziello taken off duty immediately pending the investigation.
Members of the ACLU said it’s not enough.
“You know this is not the only department where we see police using violence on individuals it’s completely unacceptable and there needs to be an independent oversight of the agency to reign in this misconduct,” said McGuire.
According to the police report, The 17-year-old driver was in possession of .7 grams of heroin and the car was in fact stolen.
The ACLU said knowing that was not enough of a reason to take the action that the video showed.
Police said they are still looking at body camera and dash cam footage of the incident to complete a thorough investigation.