Waterbury police officer fired for ‘unacceptable’ behavior while directing traffic

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A Waterbury police officer was fired for his “unacceptable” behavior while directing traffic last month.

Waterbury police said Officer James Hinkle was directing traffic on Dec. 13 at the intersection of Thomaston Avenue and Homer Street due to a mechanical failure of the lights. The traffic lights were in flashing mode as he directed traffic.

While directing traffic, a car went through the intersection. Hinkle provided hand motions to the car to stop, and when it didn’t, he hit the driver’s side door with his hand. He walked after the vehicle on the roadway and demanded the driver pull over.

When the driver pulled over, Hinkle became loud and argumentative.

The Waterbury Police Department released a 9-minute compilation of body and dash cam videos of the incident. Watch it in the video player below.

The department said Hinkle was immediately placed on paid administrative leave pending the outcome of the Internal Affairs investigation. He was fired on Monday as a result of the investigation that determined “his conduct, actions and behaviors were in violation of departmental policies.”

Hinkle was serving in his seventh year with the department, and before his termination, he was assigned to the patrol division.

Waterbury Police Chief Fernando Spagnolo released the following statement:

As a result of the Internal Affairs investigation, Officer Hinkle was terminated from the Waterbury Police Department. 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. WPD officers are trained to demonstrate the highest level of professionalism when performing their duties.

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