Bridgeport cop investigator transferred to ‘less stressful’ job
BRIDGEPORT — The lead investigator into the probe of police misconduct by an unprecedented 17 officers who broke up a pre-Halloween party in 2017 has been transferred.
Lt. Brian Dickerson, the commander of the city’s Office of Internal Affairs, was transferred to the Police Department’s training academy, Police Chief Armando Perez confirmed on Monday.
“At his request, he was removed and has been reassigned,” Perez said. The chief said after leading the intensive investigation, Dickerson wanted to be reassigned to a position with less stress.
“He did a great job and it was not an easy job because he held people’s livelihoods in his hands,” Perez continued.
Dickerson could not be reached for comment.
On Oct. 21, 2017, a police car was dispatched to a home on Colorado Avenue for a complaint of a loud party. More than 40 officers eventually responded to the home and arrested eight people who later claimed they were subjected to excessive force by officers both at the party and later in the booking area at the Police Department.
On Oct. 24, 2017, Perez directed Dickerson in a letter to “open an internal investigation concerning the possible use of force and any other departmental violations stemming from the incident on Colorado Avenue.”
The letter directed Dickerson to initially focus on the actions of Sgt. Paul Scillia and Officer Thomas Lattanzio.
However, in his 405-page report completed on Nov. 16, 2018, Dickerson found 17 officers and two civilian detention officers violated Police Department rules, regulations and policies.
Lattanzio, Scillia, detention officer Jose Figueroa and officers Michael Stanitis, Daniel Faroni and Joseph Cruz were accused of using excessive force. The report states that Scillia, Stanitis, Lattanzio, Cruz, Adam Szeps, Detective Kenneth Fortes and officers Douglas Bepko, Joseph Pires, Linet Castillo and Natalie McLaughlin were not truthful in the information they provided on the incident.
Scillia, Lt. Robert Sapiro and Belinkie failed to supervise other officers under their command; Szeps, Belinkie and officer Steven Silva failed to provide medical attention and Detective Fortes and officer Pires provided inaccurate reporting of the incident, according to the report.
The report recommends the officers be referred to the Board of Police Commission and Perez for disciplinary action.
Lattanzio killed himself in Seaside Park in December 2017 while under investigation. Belinkie killed himself in his Milford home just days before Hearst Connecticut Media obtained a copy of the OIA report.
There is no evidence that the suicides were directly related to the report or investigation.