Saturday, November 7, 2009
HPD INVESTIGATING PRISONER ASSAULT BY OFFICERS
As much as Hartford Police Chief Daryl Roberts and many members of the Hartford Police Department try to build police/community relationships, it seems that some just aren't getting the message.
Several sources have confirmed that an Internal Affairs investigation is underway into the assault of a prisoner inside the Hartford Police Department booking area. The incident, which has all been captured on video recordings, occurred when one officer, reported to be Officer Rhashim Campbell, entered the cell and allegedly assaulted the prisoner.
After assaulting the prisoner in his cell, Officer Campbell removed him to a larger open area in booking, at which time a second officer allegedly became involved. The second officer is reported to be Officer Kent Lee, a department veteran. From what sources are telling me, the two officers then handcuffed the prisoner and knocked him to the floor , at which time the assault continued with kicks and punches being delivered to him as he lay on the floor.
Although the alleged actions of the officers is deplorable, the response of HPD should be commended. The victim of the assault apparently didn't make a complaint immediately after the incident. What did happen is that one of the officer's involved was apparently bragging about the incident inside Police Headquarters and his comments were overheard by a sergeant. HPD Internal Affairs launched an immediate investigation into the incident and confirmed the beating through the video recordings.
At the time of the assault a supervisor was present in the area, but it is unclear what actions he may have taken to stop or report the incident , if any. The regular booking sergeant was not on duty and Lieutenant Kevin Ahlquist was working an overtime shift supervising the area.
Sources are also telling me that arrest warrants will be prepared for those officers involved once the level of criminal conduct has been determined.
Although this will most likely be another black-eye in the national media for Hartford, the actions of Chief Roberts and his leadership in responding swiftly to the incident should also be recognized as a positive step forward in building community trust and confidence.