HARTFORD — Hartford police are investigating one of thier colleagues: Officer Jay Szepanksi.
As a result of this investigation, Szepanksi is no longer in his current role. He was assigned to the property room, pending the outcome of the investigation.
Szapanksi is accused of using social media to post profane language about Hartford residents.
While authorities stress his alleged posts don’t represent the entire Hartford Police Department, Hartford residents are not surprised by this behavior. They want immediate action to what clearly is an affront to many hard-working individuals who live in the capital city.
William Francis Moffett Jr posted this on Facebook: “Terminate the officer immediately.”
Another Hartford dweller named Allen Freeman asked: “ Where are all the ‘Good cops” flooding the comments section standing up for residents and calling out these Bad cops publicly?”
Interim Chief of Hartford Police Jason Thody released a statement saying, “Public trust, faith, and police legitimacy are essential requirements to be an effective police officer. Making comments that tend to diminish officer-credibility, erode public truck (sic), and bring discredit to the Department or to the officer can lead to an inability to police in the City.”
Thody also added, “Officers should be mindful that, while the Department supports legitimate expressions of free speech, such expressions are not without restrictions.”
Hartford Mayor Luke Bronin also responded to those posts saying in part, “The vast, vast majority of our officers view the chance to serve our city as a privilege, and posts like this do a disservice to all the men and women of our department who work so hard to build and maintain relationships of trust, respect, and partnership.”
There has been much criticism of Hartford Police Department for its lack of diversity. Residents over the years have made several complaints about officers who abused thier powers. Internal investigations seem inadequate to address this malfesance evident in the city. And so residents were disappointed over what seems like entrenched racism, xenophobia and sexism.
Since 2014, there has been abuse of power reported under former Police Chief James Rovella. Rovella resigned on February 15, 2018 amidst accusations of an alleged cover up of grand larceny charges and theft of services against political operatives, including several police officers, Rovella moonlighted with during President Barack Obama and Gov. Dannel Malloy’s administrations and re-election campaigns.