Witnesses claim excessive force in Hartford arrest


HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — Witnesses claim a white Hartford police officer used excessive force while arresting a black man over the weekend. Police held a news conference Tuesday afternoon, trying to stay ahead of the situation before tensions grow.

A video of the arrest shows two officers trying to subdue Samuel Bryant, who allegedly had weapons and drugs on him. One officer held him in a bear hug and the other hit him on the leg with a baton, but police say that video only shows half of the incident. They say the officer was elbowed in his nose first, breaking it.

“When I initially saw this I was upset, I was like ‘wow, what is this,’ and that’s how people are who don’t have the full story,” said Muhammad Ansari, President of the Hartford NAACP. “Now I feel different because I have the whole different picture.”

Officials say after the struggle was over, Bryant and the officer apologized to each other.

“When he wiped the blood from Mr. Bryant’s eyes, they both kind of pieced it up and said ‘I hurt you, I hurt you too, we’re both bleeding here,’ which is kind of remarkable,” said Hartford Police Chief James Rovella. “Then Mr. Bryant put it on paper and there was an apology for Mr. Bryant.”

Police have released the incident report and the officers’ backgrounds.

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