Bridgeport teen hit by officer’s pistol demands police accountability

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A Bridgeport teen spoke with News 12 Wednesday about being hit on the head with a gun by a Bridgeport police officer during a traffic stop.

The 17-year-old Bridgeport resident says he is outraged by the attack and is demanding accountability.

The teen, who asked not to be shown or identified, can be seen on a cellphone video from last Friday night getting out of a car at Jane and Kussoth streets in compliance with the demands of Officer Giani Capozziello.

The video then shows the teen being struck by the officer.

MORE: Ganim calls for probe into Bridgeport officer seen in traffic stop video 

"I heard in the video he was yelling, ‘put my hands out the window’ but I couldn't hear him that clearly because the window was up," the teen told News 12.

The 17-year-old says he just graduated from Central High School and is heading to a college in Florida to study business. His parents met with Mayor Joe Ganim to thank him for condemning the officer's actions and calling for his swift termination and prosecution.

"That's not conduct acceptable by anybody from the Bridgeport Police Department," says Ganim.

The family says they would not comment on the criminal charges pending against their son, except to say nothing justifies the kind of treatment he received from the police officer.

News 12 reported over the weekend that Officer Capozziello defended his actions in the police report. He says, “I observed both his hands drop to his waistline... the waistline is used to conceal a possible weapon. Fearing (the suspect) was reaching for a weapon with his right hand...and unable to holster my department-issued pistol...I utilized the magazine well area of my pistol as an emergency impact weapon."

Officer Capozziello is currently on administrative leave.

In a statement, Police Chief A.J. Perez said, "I instructed Internal Affairs to retain the dashcam and bodycam videos of the arrest scene and to begin an investigation. Everything that can immediately be done to address this incident, has been done."

Sgt. Chuck Paris, the president of the police union, sent News 12 a statement about the incident:

"Officer Capoziello is a decorated Marine who served in Afghanistan during wartime, and later graduated at the top of his class from the Bridgeport Police Academy.  Last Friday, he was responding to a felony traffic stop of a stolen motor vehicle, which is a dangerous and highly-charged situation. There is more to this story than has been reported and we must allow the investigators to complete their job before we draw any conclusions."

WATCH: Raw viewer video of traffic stop encounter (courtesy Facebook user Staxxx Rivera)

 

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