Local Headlines

DANBURY, Conn. (AP) — A Danbury police officer has been suspended for eight days for making offensive remarks — caught on body camera — during a confrontation with a man filming at a public library.

The News-Times reports an internal investigation found Ken Utter and three other officers violated department policies in their response to a June 9 incident, in which SeanPaul Reyes conducted a so-called First Amendment audit within the library.

Reyes, of Bellport, New York, visited the library and filmed inside to see how officials would respond.

At one point, Utter could be heard on body camera saying that Reyes would have been “dead” 20 years ago, adding “his teeth would be missing.”

“While I understand that you were clearly frustrated after a tense encounter comments such as these are never acceptable under any circumstances,” Chief Patrick Ridenhour wrote to the officer. “They cause embarrassment to our department and can easily hamper our efforts to build and maintain positive relationships with our community.”

In addition to his suspension, Utter, a 25-year-veteran of the department, was told to undergo remedial training and a refresher course on body cameras.

Officer Christopher Dennis was required to take counseling and remedial training, though Ridenhour noted he “remained calm throughout this incident, even though you were subjected to a barrage of unnecessary personal attacks.” Officer Paul Tibbitts was suspended for three days without pay and was required to take remedial training.  Ridenhour wrote that the three exhibited rude or unprofessional conduct toward the public or in public view. 

Sgt. John Dickinson, who was called to the library later, received a written reprimand and was ordered to take a brief refresher training on how to operate his body-worn camera.

On Air Now
Todd Schnitt
Local Headlines