Bridgeport Police Chief Joe Gaudett Monday afternoon met with local and state officials from the NAACP following the release of graphic footage in a video uploaded to YouTube that shows three officers kicking a suspect after he had been felled by a stun gun in Beardsley Park in May of 2011. The city’s Office of Internal Affairs is conducting an investigation into the conduct of police following the arrest of Orlando Lopez-Soto. NAACP officials are urging state and federal law enforcement officials to conduct criminal investigations into police abuse. Lopez-Soto has filed a civil action against the city.
Statement from Gaudett:
“I had a productive and frank conversation with the NAACP. I assured them that a timely, thorough and fair investigation will be conducted. At the same time, it is imperative to provide investigators the time to do their work.”
Statement from Carolyn Vermont, president of Greater Bridgeport NAACP:
“The NAACP is outraged by the behavior of the three officers involved. The suspect was subdued and appeared to not be a threat to the three officers. The officers have been placed on administrative status but that is not sufficient based on what we have viewed on the video. The NAACP demands the immediate termination of employment of the three police officers. NAACP respects the investigative process by Internal Affairs, the US Attorney’s Office and the FBI but we are demanding action now. The NAACP also recognizes that the misconduct of the three officers involved is not reflective of the entire Bridgeport Police Department. However, this type of police misconduct is taking place too often in our community when it should not be happening at all. Sometimes victims are afraid to file a police report as they fear retaliation. Some victims have no proof or witnesses to support their claim. But this particular incident was caught on tape.”