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Hartford Police Officer Fired

Rhashim Campbell Is Alleged To Have Beaten A Prisoner Last Year

Christine Dempsey

November 05, 2010

Officer Rhashim Campbell, who police said beat a prisoner last year, was fired Friday afternoon.

"The Hartford Police Department will not tolerate the mistreatment of our citizens, especially those in our custody," Police Chief Daryl K. Roberts stated in a press release.

A hearing panel of three Hartford police captains found that Campbell violated two articles of the police department's code of conduct, police said: He used unnecessary force and he made a false entry in a police department record, police said.

Campbell, who has been on the force for more than five years, was arrested Dec. 10 and charged with third-degree assault and tampering with physical evidence. The case is pending; he is to appear at Superior Court in Hartford Tuesday.

"My client's disappointed about the decision of the department," said his lawyer, Salvatore Bonanno. "He intends to contest it through the proper channels, specifically, through the process in place in the collective bargaining contract. I'm sure that down the road he will be vindicated," he said.

"I stand by him," Bonanno said.

According to an internal affairs report, a video recording from Nov. 1, 2009, showed prisoner John Stewart reaching between the cell bars and tapping the back of Campbell's head just before the officer opened the cell door. Campbell approached Stewart, who had his hands down, and the two became involved in a physical altercation initiated by Campbell, the report states.

The video shows Campbell putting Stewart in a headlock and striking him on the right side of his face with his left hand while fellow Officer Kent Lee observes. Campbell then knees Stewart in the body and strikes him again before Lee intervenes, the report states.

Two minutes later, the video shows the officers bringing Stewart to the floor, where Campbell kicks him. After Campbell shackles Stewart, the video shows Lee kicking him while he lies on the floor, according to the report.

Prosecutors declined to sign a warrant for Lee's arrest; he retired from the department last year.

Reprinted with permission of the Hartford Courant. To view other stories on this topic, search the Hartford Courant Archives at http://www.courant.com/archives.
| Last update: September 25, 2012 |
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