Bridgeport officer arrested on stalking, harassment charges in domestic violence case

Officer Dani Soto, 47, turned himself in to his own department Wednesday morning after police obtained an arrest warrant for Soto.

Marissa Alter

Jul 3, 2024, 5:10 PM

Updated 14 days ago

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A Bridgeport police officer now faces over 30 charges in connection with domestic violence allegations from a former girlfriend. Officer Dani Soto, 47, turned himself in to his own department Wednesday morning after police obtained an arrest warrant for Soto. He was arraigned at Bridgeport Superior Court on five counts of second-degree stalking, four counts of second-degree unlawful restraint and 22 counts of second-degree harassment.
“He's been a Bridgeport police officer for the past seven years in good standing. He has an unblemished record in that regard,” attorney Christian Young, who represents Soto, said during the arraignment.
Soto has been on administrative status with pay since May 8 when the victim contacted police about Soto. According to his arrest warrant, the woman said she had a brief relationship with Soto that she ended in December 2023 after learning he was still married. The woman told police that since then, Soto wouldn’t leave her alone despite her repeated requests for him to do so. He allegedly called, emailed and drove by her house or place of work almost every day. The victim told police she was reluctant to come forward at first but decided to because Soto won’t stop, the warrant stated.
The victim was “distraught and crying during the interview process,” during which she described multiple ways in which Soto continued to follow her and contact her against her wishes, according to the warrant. That included using his marked patrol car to pull her over for a traffic stop.
“The victim explained she would pull her car over and that Soto would position his patrol car so that she could not drive away without endangering herself or others including Soto,” the warrant said. “He would open her driver’s side door and attempt to kiss or hug her, despite her protests to stop and let her go. The victim explained that these stops would last several minutes and that she would be extremely distraught afterwards.”
The woman used her cellphone to audio-record her interactions with Soto since the relationship ended and turned over 56 recordings to police, the warrant said. Thirty-two of those recordings, from Dec. 16 through May 8, were allegedly consistent with Soto’s pursuit of the victim and the victim repeatedly asking to be left alone. Police said they were able to confirm four unauthorized traffic stops.
According to the warrant, the victim also described how Soto drove by her home unannounced and sat in his personal car or patrol car waiting for her or watching her home.
Police interviewed two witnesses who corroborated the claims, the warrant said.
Police also reviewed 353 email messages between Soto and the victim where "Soto is constantly harassing the victim via email, causing the victim to experience terror and alarm," the warrant stated. It included several excerpts from emails including, "Will not give up on us," "I'm coming for you!!!!!!!!!" and "YOU BELONG TO ME AND ONLY ME." In court, Judge Maureen Dennis issued a protective order, barring Soto from having any contact with the victim and requiring he wear a GPS monitor through Family Services to remain at least 2,500 feet away from her.
Given those conditions of release, Soto’s attorney asked for no financial bond for his client, noting “there are no allegations whatsoever of any threats of violence.”
Young also alleged there was more to this case.
“Recently, the complaining party attacked his wife and was arrested for attacking his wife. Shortly thereafter, the complaining party related to the defendant that she was going to, ‘get him, get him and ruin his life.’ Shortly after that, she filed the complaint. I think the context is important in the current situation,” Young told the judge. “I submit that it raises the specter of ulterior motives that also could, in some cases, involve embellishment.”
Soto nodded his head as his attorney spoke.
But the warrant didn’t include any mention of such an arrest. It did note a prior harassment complaint filed by the victim against Soto’s wife. Dennis set Soto’s bond at $75,000 and said the nature and frequency of the allegations were of “grave concern.”
"It's not just ‘he-said she-said,’ from the warrant," Dennis stated, pointing to the recordings and cellphone data that police recovered.
The judge also ordered additional GPS monitoring through the bail commissioner’s office and house arrest with exceptions to be determined by that office.
Soto is due back in court on July 19.
The police department is also conducting an internal investigation following Soto’s arrest. A statement from Capt. Kevin Gilleran said, “The Bridgeport Police Department is dedicated to building trust and legitimacy within the communities we serve by making every effort to maintain a permanent culture of transparency and accountability.”


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