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Waterbury Police Officer Fired For 'Unacceptable' Conduct

Officer Hinkle right before the incident.
Officer Hinkle right before the incident. Photo Credit: Waterbury Police Department

A Connecticut police officer was fired for "unacceptable" conduct during a traffic stop while he was directing traffic.

The incident took place in New Haven County in Waterbury on Tuesday, Dec. 13 at the intersection of Thomaston Avenue and Homer Street.

During the stop, Officer James Hinkle was directing traffic due to a mechanical failure of the traffic lights at the intersection, said Lt. Ryan Bessette of the Waterbury Police.

While directing traffic, a vehicle proceeded through the intersection. Hinkle provided commands to the vehicle to stop and struck the driver's side of the vehicle with his hand and then the vehicle pulled over, Bessette said.

Bessette said that during the stop the actions of Hinkle initiated an Internal Affairs investigation regarding his interactions with the driver.

After the incident, Hinkle was placed on paid administrative leave pending the outcome of the Internal Affairs investigation.

In a body cam video of the stop, Hinkle can be seen and heard screaming and cussing at the woman who had driven through the intersection.

On Monday, Jan. 9, Hinkle was terminated as a result of an Internal Affairs investigation that "determined his conduct, actions, and behaviors were in violation of departmental policies," Bessette said.

Hinkle was currently serving in his seventh year with the department and was assigned to the patrol division prior to his termination.

“His conduct during this encounter with a citizen of the community is unacceptable and not representative of the men and women serving the Waterbury Police Department," said Waterbury Police Chief Fernando Spagnolo. "WPD officers are trained to demonstrate the highest level of professionalism when performing their duties.”

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