BRIDGEPORT, Conn. — A female Bridgeport police officer captured on a cellphone video as she repeatedly punched a teenage suspect feared he was carrying a concealed weapon, according to the Connecticut Post.
The incident, with the officer throwing the punches identified as Christina Arroyo, occurred at about 9:30 p.m. Friday as Aaron Kearney Jr. was arrested after a minor car accident on Seaview Avenue.
In a report obtained by the Post, Arroyo explained her actions, saying she "feared for [her] safety" and believed Kearney was resisting because he was carrying a concealed firearm.
She said she punched Kearney multiple times to loosen his arms, the Post said.
Kearney, 18, was charged with breach of peace and assault on a police officer, police said. He had no insurance for his car and was driving with a suspended license, according to the Connecticut Post.
He became "verbally aggressive" to the officers who arrived after the crash and flailed his arms when officers attempted to handcuff him, the Post said.
Kearney, 18, was charged with breach of peace and assault on a police officer, police said.
He was treated at Bridgeport Hospital for abrasions on his neck and face and a cut on his lip, the Post said.
Arroyo and the officers involved have been put on administrative duty pending an investigation by Bridgeport Police Office of Internal Affairs, according to Police Chief AJ Perez.
"In the event that an officer is found to have knowingly and willfully violated policy by using excessive force in the performance of their duties, I will make every effort to see that officer separated from their employment with the Bridgeport Police Department and where applicable arrested and charged with a crime," Perez said in a statement Sunday.
The video posted on Facebook, which was recorded by Kearney's mother, shows officers forcing the teen onto the hood of a car, then Arroyo begins to punch the side of his face while the other officers hold him.
His mother can be heard screaming repeatedly, “Don’t hurt my son, don’t hurt my son.”
At one point, the Arroyo yells to her, “Get back, or you're next.”
“The Bridgeport Police Department is committed to public service and the safeguarding of the public’s dignity and constitutionally afforded rights," Perez said in the statement.
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