New Haven Sergeant Suspended For Excessive Force
11:55 AM EDT, August 17, 2012
A New Haven police sergeant has been suspended for 15 days for using excessive force during a June arrest outside a nightclub.
Police Chief Dean Esserman told the New Haven Register (http://bit.ly/Pq4Hhz ) he ordered the discipline for Sgt. Chris Rubino last month.
Video taken by onlookers captured Rubino putting his foot on the neck of a 24-year-old Bridgeport man during an arrest outside a nightclub on Chapel Street on June 2. Esserman said that conduct was not acceptable.
"The tactics of a foot on a neck are improper and unacceptable by any police officer let alone a police supervisor," Esserman told the New Haven Register on Thursday.
Rubino was not disciplined for seizing the smartphone of a woman who captured the arrest on video. Jennifer Gondola of Ansonia was charged with interfering with police after stuffing the phone inside her bra. A female officer confiscated the phone.
Esserman said the seizure of the phone didn't appear to violate any law, but is evidence the department's internal policy on allowing citizens to film police conduct is too vague and needs to be rewritten.
"I disagree with the judgment used by the supervisor in that situation and would have chose a different course of conduct," he said.
Louis Cavaliere Jr., the police union president, told the newspaper the union has filed a grievance seeking to overturn or reduce the suspension.
"Do people know that that kid was out of control, spitting blood at police?" Cavaliere said. "He (Rubino) did what he had to do at the time."
Copyright 2012 Associated Press.