To Begin with, Thank You to the Hartford Police Department, Chief David Rosado, Assistant Chief's Thody and Medina and Lieutenant Bowsza for the countless hours they have put into maintaining transparency in their efforts to answer questions over this incident. More hours have gone into answering questions about this incident than typically go into a homicide investigation. I guess it is about transparency and maintaining the community's trust
The Hartford Police Department has provided the video recordings of the "Trombone Incident" as well as the radio audio recordings of the incident.
The video was obtained from a private business downtown and the camera position is rather poor and gives a very limited "fisheye" view of the business front and is very limited in any evidentiary view. In the video, you can see an older gentleman who is recording the incident it appears on a smart phone, that video has not surfaced or been offered to HPD. You can also see when the suspect appears to break away from the Officer's and attempt to run east across Main Street toward the Old State House
The radio recordings provide more of a timeline for the incident, although they might be somewhat confusing to anyone unfamiliar with listening to the HPD radio channels. At one point as the officers are arriving, you will hear Officer Cotto calling for additional help and shortly after the dispatcher asks if he is "OK" and the officer answers "No, we need more units over here NOW" which resulted in the large response. At 1:35, the Sergeant on the scene, Unit 320, states by radio, "we are all set, no more cars here" At 2:21 you can hear the shift Lieutenant, Unit 45, asking the dispatcher to advise booking "they have a hot one coming in" which means the person in custody in the back seat under arrest going to detention is unruly and causing a problem, so booking is aware and has extra officers waiting for the individuals to maintain control.
Click on link to view video:https://drive.google.com/open?id=1jG2hSHe49GeYqRVwfr5LaMH_5Kjr4Tsi
Below is also a response from Chief Rosado in response to community questions:
Over the past several weeks, several officers have responded to noise complaints related to Isaiah Robinson playing a trombone in the area of 811 Main Street (Burger King). Our dispatch records show seven citizen-initiated complaints logged between November 16, 2018 and Mr. Robinson’s arrest on December 20, 2018. These complaints have come from Mr. Charles Wareham, owner of Valark Financial located at 750 Main Street. Each of the police responses were initiated by a complainant and not by the Police Department or any of the officers.
The responding officers have made numerous attempts to mitigate the complaint and find a compromise between the complainant and Mr. Robinson. The area Community Service Officer, Adam DeMaine, had several interactions with Mr. Robinson including one on December 3, 2018 where he documented his efforts under case number 18-36716. This report outlines the complainant’s issues, details Officer DeMaine’s attempt to explain the City noise ordinance to Mr. Robinson, describes Mr. Robinson’s uncooperative and combative attitude, lists some of the suggested compromises and a referral to Janice Castle, Director of Community Engagement, and ultimately documents that Officer DeMaine issued Mr. Robinson a verbal warning and informed him he could be arrested if the violations continued. Due to the behavior exhibited by Mr. Robinson, Officer DeMaine call a supervisor, Sergeant Ramundi, to the scene to further attempt a dialogue. Mr. Robinson did not cooperate with Sergeant Ramundi either.
In the weeks leading up to the December 20th incident, at least six other officers responded and attempted to resolve this issue, none resulting in an arrest. Due to the allegation that race was involved in this arrest, it is important to note that responding officers over the course of the previous weeks included males and females of different races, including Officer Tiffany Wilson, a black female, and Sergeant Steve Austin, a black male supervisor. Mr. Robinson was also referred to Janice Castle by CSO Adam DeMaine. Mr. Robinson met with Ms. Castle and refused her advice, indicating that the only problem was that the police were harassing him because he is black.
The Hartford Business Improvement District also attempted to mitigate the issue. They purchased and delivered a device for Mr. Robinson’s trombone that would allow people passing by to hear his music, while muffling the sound for people in the distance. The device was purchased on December 4th and delivered by Block by Block Supervisor Rodney Crockett. Mr. Robinson refused to use the device.
On December 20th, the police were again called again by Mr. Wareham to 811 Main Street for a noise complaint related to Mr. Robinson playing the trombone. The initial officer responded and attempted to speak with Robinson. Mr. Robinson would not speak with him and ultimately stated, “Fuck you! I’m gonna play my horn until you arrest me” and walked into Burger King. The officer requested an additional unit for backup.
When backup arrived, they attempted to speak with the complainant, Mr. Wareham. Mr. Robinson charged toward the complainant and officers, yelling profanities and calling the complainant a, “bitch.”
Mr. Robinson was instructed to back away because he was causing the complainant alarm and not allowing the officers to investigate the complaint. He was warned that he would be arrested and did not cease his aggressive behavior. His actions justified his arrest for interfering with a police officer and breach of peace. At this point there were two officers and a probationary police officer of field training present. When the officers attempted to arrest Mr. Robinson, he physically resisted.
Officer Cotto then says over the radio, “Get us more cars here…now!”
The dispatcher asks if he is all set and Officer Cotto responds, “Not right now, that’s why we need more cars.”
Not knowing what was happening, several units began to respond to the officers’ location. While waiting for help to arrive, the three officers on scene continued to struggle with Robinson. At one point Robinson was able to pull away and run out into the street away from the officers but was re-secured. Mr. Robinson was eventually secured in the back of a police vehicle. He then began kicking the window frame from the inside, bending the door of the police car out away from the frame.
Several units arrived and where released by the on-scene supervisor because Mr. Robinson was already secured in the vehicle.
Attached you will find the incident report, the use of force report and photographs of the damaged police vehicle from case number 18-38529. You will also find the incident report for an earlier noise complaint, case number 18-36716 (12/03/2018). The dispatch audio recordings and the video are available to listen to and view upon request but are too large to attach via email.
1) How many officers were called to the scene?
Initially one officer responded to the call. Two officers, one of whom was a Probationary Police Officer, also arrived shortly after the first officer arrived.
One of the three officers radioed for additional help when Mr. Robinson began resisting arrest, but did not specify how many additional officers were needed. If everyone that was responding to the call actually made it there, a total of twelve officers, one sergeant, and one lieutenant would have been on-scene. However, some officers were called off as others arrived.
2) Who called to make a complaint?
- On 11/16/2018 at 12:55 P.M. Charles Wareham called police from 750 Main Street for a noise complaint.
- On 11/26/2018 at 2:11 P.M. A citizen called another city office, which reported a noise complaint at 811 Main Street (Burger King).
- On 11/29/2018 at 3:16 P.M. Charles Wareham called police from 750 Main Street for a noise complaint/breach of peace.
- On 12/03/2018 at 1:11 P.M. Charles Wareham called police from 750 Main Street for a suspicious person/noise complaint.
- On 12/10/2018 at 3:27 P.M. a “Charles” called police from 750 Main Street for a noise complaint.
- On 12/17/2018 at 2:44 P.M. Mr. Wareham also called police for a noise complaint.
- The complainant on 12/20/2018 was Charles Wareham who works at 750 Main Street. He called at 12:33 P.M. reporting a noise complaint.
3) What does the arrest entail?
Isaiah Robinson was charged with the following:
Interfering with Police 53a-167a
Criminal Mischief in the first degree 53a-115
Breach of Peace in the second degree 53a-181
Excessive Noise City Ordinance 23-1
Interfering with Police – As Officers Bell, Cotto and Probationary Officer Rome attempted to interview the complainant, Mr. Robinson yelled profanities at the complainant and officers and refused to back away so that the officers could conduct the investigation and, “making it impossible for [officers] to speak with the complainant” and hindering the investigation. Mr. Robinson then resisted arrest, broke away from officers and attempted to flee, and physically resisted getting in the police vehicle, kicking officer Bell in the process.
“Sec. 53a-167a. Interfering with an officer: Class A misdemeanor or class D felony. (a) A person is guilty of interfering with an officer when such person obstructs, resists, hinders or endangers any peace officer, special policeman appointed under section 29-18b, motor vehicle inspector designated under section 14-8 and certified pursuant to section 7-294d or firefighter in the performance of such peace officer's, special policeman's, motor vehicle inspector's or firefighter's duties.
(b) Interfering with an officer is a class A misdemeanor, except that, if such violation causes the death or serious physical injury of another person, such person shall be guilty of a class D felony.”
Criminal Mischief in the first degree – Mr. Robinson used both feet to kick the rear door of the police car from the inside, causing the door to bend out away from the vehicle frame (attached photos).
“Sec. 53a-115. Criminal mischief in the first degree: Class D felony. (a) A person is guilty of criminal mischief in the first degree when: (1) With intent to cause damage to tangible property of another and having no reasonable ground to believe that such person has a right to do so, such person damages tangible property of another in an amount exceeding one thousand five hundred dollars, or (2) with intent to cause an interruption or impairment of service rendered to the public and having no reasonable ground to believe that such person has a right to do so, such person damages or tampers with tangible property of a utility or mode of public transportation, power or communication, and thereby causes an interruption or impairment of service rendered to the public, or (3) with intent to cause damage to any electronic monitoring equipment owned or leased by the state or its agent and required as a condition of probation or conditional discharge pursuant to section 53a-30, as a condition of release pursuant to section 54-64a or as a condition of community release pursuant to section 18-100c, and having no reasonable ground to believe that such person has a right to do so, such person damages such electronic monitoring equipment and thereby causes an interruption in its ability to function, or (4) with intent to cause an interruption or impairment of service rendered to the public and having no reasonable ground to believe that such person has a right to do so, such person damages or tampers with (A) any tangible property owned by the state, a municipality or a person for fire alarm or police alarm purposes, (B) any telecommunication system operated by the state police or a municipal police department, (C) any emergency medical or fire service dispatching system, (D) any fire suppression equipment owned by the state, a municipality, a person or a fire district, or (E) any fire hydrant or hydrant system owned by the state or a municipality, a person, a fire district or a private water company, or (5) with intent to cause damage to tangible property owned by the state or a municipality that is located on public land and having no reasonable ground to believe that such person has a right to do so, such person damages such tangible property in an amount exceeding one thousand five hundred dollars.”
Breach of Peace in the second degree – While officers were interviewing the complainant, Mr. Robinson, “charged up to Wareham, cussing at him for calling the police.” Mr. Robinson refused to step back from the complainant and officers and continued, “yelling and cursing at the complainant while flailing his hands about” and calling the complainant a “bitch’ and saying, “Fuck you!”
Officers reported that the complaint was, “alarmed” and “visibly shaken.”
Officer Bell indicated in his report that he, “became concerned that Robinson was going to assault the complainantbased on his erratic behavior.”
“Sec. 53a-181. Breach of the peace in the second degree: Class B misdemeanor. (a) A person is guilty of breach of the peace in the second degree when, with intent to cause inconvenience, annoyance or alarm, or recklessly creating a risk thereof, such person: (1) Engages in fighting or in violent, tumultuous or threatening behavior in a public place; or (2) assaults or strikes another; or (3) threatens to commit any crime against another person or such other person's property; or (4) publicly exhibits, distributes, posts up or advertises any offensive, indecent or abusive matter concerning any person; or (5) in a public place, uses abusive or obscene language or makes an obscene gesture; or (6) creates a public and hazardous or physically offensive condition by any act which such person is not licensed or privileged to do. For purposes of this section, “public place” means any area that is used or held out for use by the public whether owned or operated by public or private interests.”
Excessive Noise – Officers used Google Maps to estimate the distance from where Mr. Robinson was playing the trombone to both the complainants business, 750 Main Street (350 feet) and to where Officer Bell exited his patrol car and heard the trombone, Main and Pearl Street (220 feet).
“City Ordinance 23-1 - In the absence of a sound level meter, noise will be plainly audible when noise can be heard at a distance of one hundred (100) feet from its source, by a person of normal hearing.”
4) Will other officers be called to scenes for other individuals who are busking or street performing artists in Hartford or is downtown being targeted as a specific area?
There is no proactive enforcement in place related to busking activities, and there is no specific charge for busking.
5) Previous to this busking arrest, how many arrest does HPD typically do in the downtown area for busking? For average purposes would like to know how many arrests occurred from 2017-2018 in downtown.
There is no specific charge for busking. City Ordinance 23-1 addresses noise and does not speak specifically to busking or list it as an exception.
*Due to this arrest, does this now mean that HPD is now cracking down on busking in general?
As stated, there is no proactive enforcement in place related to busking activities. As indicative by the six previous Hartford Police responses to this issue at 811 Main Street, officers attempt to resolve these issues without making arrests or issuing citations.