Angry traffic cop threatens to smash man’s phone for filming him

HARTFORD — A Hartford police officer has been reprimanded and retrained after telling a man he would “smash” his cellphone unless he stopped videotaping him while he was on duty.


A video on social media shows Officer Kevin Nesta of the traffic division being videotaped by a man on Brainard Road last month as Nesta radioed to other officers to pull over motorists who were talking on their cellphones or not wearing seat belts. The video shows Nesta telling Wilson Ramos, 30, to turn off his camera and then walking directly toward Ramos. At that point, the officer pulled out his own cellphone and began videotaping Ramos at the same time.

“Turn the phone off before I smash it,” Nesta says. Ramos, an office manager at a Hartford nonprofit, eventually turned off the camera during the April 14 incident and left. Hartford Deputy Police Chief Brian Foley said the department will use the case to help officers understand that they can be videotaped at any time while they are on duty. “That’s certainly not the image or the professionalism that we look for in our officers,” Foley said Tuesday. “We are looking at the video, and at this point that officer has been brought in and given retraining on exactly how these situations should be handled while reinforcing the need for professionalism and courtesy. I’m not defending the officer at all. He’s been given retraining.”

With the use of cellphone cameras becoming more common, a series of incidents have been captured nationwide showing the interactions between citizens and police, including confrontations in Baltimore and Staten Island in which African American men died. With those cases in mind, the Senate could vote as early as Wednesday on a bill that allows people to sue municipalities if police officers interfere while they are being videotaped or photographed.

The Connecticut bill was written in response to the case of the Rev. James Manship, a Roman Catholic priest who was arrested after recording the actions of a police officer in an East Haven convenience store in 2009. The charges against the priest were later dropped, and four East Haven officers were eventually arrested in a federal investigation that led to all four being convicted. Sen. Eric Coleman, a key proponent of the bill, said he did not know about the recent Hartford videotape until learning about it Tuesday from The Courant. After hearing about the video, Coleman said he was concerned because “it seems that there’s some purposeful attempt at intimidation.”

A major change in the bill since it was considered in April by the judiciary committee is that the municipality — rather than the officer individually — would be liable in lawsuits, Coleman said. Some legislators had opposed the original version of the bill, saying that individual officers could end up with huge legal bills.

Officer Kevin Nesta Accused Of Starting Bar Brawl Source:




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