A video that appeared to show Connecticut police officers instigating a confrontation with a group of teenagers prompted an internal investigation.
The Derby Police Department launched an investigation of up to six cops involved in the alleged racial profiling incident, WTNH-TV reported on July 10.
An officer grabbed a cell phone from one of the teenagers and stopped the recording—but not before it captured the cops appearing to bully the group of mostly Black kids who were standing on a public sidewalk on July 3 after a fireworks show.
“Get going, get going, get going,” one of the officers is heard telling the teens on the video. When asked for their badge numbers, the cops refused to identify themselves. “I can say whatever I want,” a cop at the scene told one of the young men who questioned the inappropriate language used by the officers, according to the news outlet.
“I think this is a serious situation that needs to be addressed. I feel like they were, the cop was antagonizing the kids, trying to get a reaction that could’ve possibly led to an arrest of one of the kids,” Jessica Matthews, a mother whose White son was hanging out with the Black teens, told WTNH-TV.
Derby Police Chief Jerry Narowski publicly chastised his officers for not identifying themselves. “Officers are public servants and their names are public record, so they should identify themselves when asked,” he said in a statement, adding that they’re entitled to due process before jumping to any conclusion.
Meanwhile, the NAACP’s Ansonia Valley branch urged people to contact the organization if they were victims of police racial profiling in Derby. The video suggests that the officers “were escalating the situation,” said the branch’s president Greg Johnson.