There have been protests and lots of criticism in New Haven over a video showing a New Haven police officer taking 15-year-old Teandrea Cornelius to the ground during an arrest. Mayor Toni Harp has now called for Officer Joshua Smereczynsky to be placed on desk duty pending an Internal Affairs investigation.
"It’s a slap in the face to the rank and file of this department. It sends a clear message that this Mayor has no support, nor this administration, for the police officers of this department," said Louis Cavaliere, president of Elm City Local, which is the police union.
Police union President Louis Cavaliere says Officer Smereczynsky feels hurt and disrespected by the decision and that no one is supporting him.
"The officer’s been on the road for over a week now, and all of a sudden an angry mob demands to this Mayor that she put him on desk duty, and she immediately bows down to the them, and allows them to dictate how to run this police department," said Cavaliere.
Mayor Harp says Cavaliere is wrong and that she asked for desk duty to protect the officer.
"Once Internal Affairs has gone through this investigation, and we really understand what happened based on police protocol, I think that’s something that protects him, as well as makes the community feel that we take their concerns from a layman’s point of view, very seriously," said Mayor Harp.
Mayor Harp also says that she’s reserving judgment until all the facts are gathered.
"The video only shows certain frames, so it really doesn’t say one, what are the procedures and protocols, and what else was going on outside of that frame," said Mayor Harp.
Cavalier says the investigation could take anywhere from a week to a month.
Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com