A Connecticut police department is arguing that attacks against officers count as a hate crime after a man threw a brick through a cruiser window and reportedly said he “hates white cops.”
The Hartford Courant reported that 20-year-old Devon Adams-Almstad was charged with first-degree criminal mischief, assault on police, reckless endangerment, hate crime and breach of peace after throwing the brick that narrowly missed an officer’s head and left him with cuts from the window’s broken glass.
According to the police report, the man claimed he “he hates white police officers because they shoot black people and that he hates all of us” at some point during the incident.
Last week, a Facebook video surfaced of a Hartford Police Department Sgt. Stephen Barone telling a detained group of people that he was feeling “trigger happy” and would “get paid a ton of money in overtime” if he shot someone. Residents have since called for the sergeant, who was placed on leave, to be fired for the remarks — though there’s no indication that Adams-Almstad was responding to Barone’s comments when he broke the cruiser window with a brick.
In his first public comment about Barone since the video went viral regionally, Hartford Police Chief David Rosado denounced the “brick attack” and said that he was “distressed” by the sergeant’s comments.
“Attacks on our officers are entirely and unequivocally wrong, counterproductive, and themselves damaging” to the relationship between police and the community, the police chief said.
The Miami Herald noted that in May, the House of Representatives passed a bill that, if enacted, would “make purposeful attacks on police officers a federal hate crime.” The Herald‘s report also noted that groups like the American Civil Liberties Union and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People oppose the measure because police shouldn’t be considered a protected class the same way gender, sexual or religious minorities are.
The ACLU also noted that police departments in Pennsylvania have charged multiple people with hate crimes in an alleged attempt to quash anti-police speech.