(WTNH) — Caught on camera, a teenager was pistol-whipped by a Bridgeport police officer during a traffic stop. The officer, now on paid leave, said he reacted to protect himself.
Denton Donaldson speaks out to News 8 after the viral video recorded a week ago showing a Bridgeport police officer allegedly pistol-whipping his 17-year-old son.
“I watched it two times and I stopped. I hesitated watching it a third time because I couldn’t believe what was happening,” Denton says.
Officer Gianni Capozziello claims he hit the teen fearing the boy was reaching for a gun, but the video appears to show the teen surrendering with hands up when he’s hit.
Donaldson says the force of the impact knocked his son out cold: “The doctor says it’s a concussion.”
In addition to the boy’s physical injuries, Denton says the ordeal left his son fearful and withdrawn.
“He’s emotionally overwhelmed right now.”
The boy was stopped for driving a suspected stolen car. He’s charged with larceny and other crimes. His dad says he had a clean record until now.
“Things happen and kids make mistakes.”
He just graduated high school and is heading to college in the fall. Capozziello, though, does have a criminal past following a 2013 arrest for criminal mischief and disorderly conduct before joining the force.
On the job, he faced an excessive force complaint in 2017 after tasing the son of a Bridgeport city councilwoman.
Of this latest incident, Mayor Joe Ganim condemned the officer’s actions saying, “If what I see is authentic and actually what happened, there is no excuse. This calls for immediate termination and referral to the State’s Attorney for criminal prosecution.”
The Bridgeport police chief ordered an internal investigation. There is a body cam video of this incident. Bridgeport police have not released it.
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