Connecticut (NBC) (05/21/20)— A Connecticut state trooper is on administrative leave after he was captured on camera berating a motorist with profanity during a traffic stop.
Trooper Matthew Spina pulled over the driver Monday after he allegedly saw him speeding on Interstate 95 near New Haven.
Kevin A. Jette, age 31, passed the officer, who was pursuing another vehicle for speeding. Spina disengaged from that pursuit to pull over Jette, according to police.
He was placed in an administrative capacity that does not allow him to interact with the public, officials said in a statement.
The video, which has been viewed more than 300,000 times, shows the tense exchange that ensued.
The trooper, who has been with the State Police since 2001, becomes irate after Jette questions him about his engagement with the other vehicle. He scolds Jette for the inquiry throughout the duration of the traffic stop.
“Who the f–k do you think you are worrying about what I’m doing?” Spina can be heard saying. “Mind your own g–d–n business.”
The video also shows Spina making the driver exit the car and briefly puts him in handcuffs after seeing something he said was related to marijuana.
Jette can be heard telling the trooper that he has a license for medicinal marijuana. Spina questions him and searches through a bag inside the car before allowing the driver to leave.
“Mind your own business and be on your way. Don’t you ever f–k with me again,” Spina can be heard saying as he leaves.
Police say that no law enforcement action was taken against Jette during the stop.
The following day, Jette released another video giving his account. Jette said he saw Spina driving erratically in traffic and flipped his middle finger at him without realizing he was a police officer.
“Once I realized it was a police officer, I pulled my hand back in. Even still, that police officer had no reason to do what he did. He was acting like a loose cannon,” Jette said.
Jette said that Spina had no grounds to pull him over and wants to make sure the officer is held accountable.
“He never asked me for my license, my registration, my proof of insurance, or to even see my medical marijuana card. He didn’t ticket me because he had no reason to ticket me.”
In a statement, Colonel Stavros Mellekas, the Deputy Commissioner of the State Police, called Spina’s behavior “disturbing” and said an internal affairs investigation has been initiated.
“We hold our Troopers to high standards, and the behavior displayed in the video is not reflective of the values of Commissioner Rovella or my administration.“
Mellekas also said that many troopers are under “extreme stress” because of the COVID-19 pandemic and that Spina has been referred to the agency’s employee assistance program.
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