Chris Rubino, the New Haven cop who arrested a woman in June, then confiscated her phone after she recorded him physically abusing a suspect, received a 15-day unpaid suspension.
But only for planting his foot on the suspect’s face.
Not for unlawfully arresting Jennifer Gondola for recording the abuse on her cell phone, then seizing her phone as “evidence.”
It took more than a week for Gondola to get her phone back. And even then, it was only because the FBI had intervened.
Chief Dean Esserman who issued the 15-day suspension last month admitted that the general order introduced by the previous chief was too vague.
According to the New Haven Register:
The seizure of the phone as evidence, he said, didn’t appear to violate any law and the incident showed that the department’s internal policy about citizens’ rights to film police is too vague and needs to be rewritten.
He made it clear that he didn’t approve of Rubino’s decision to take the phone from the Ansonia woman.
“I disagree with the judgment used by the supervisor in that situation and would have chose a different course of conduct.”
Despite the incident happening a month after the U.S. Department of Justice made it clear that confiscating a phone without exigent circumstances was illegal, an internal affairs investigation determined that Rubino merely used “poor judgment.”
But then again, if it weren’t for that video and the following FBI intervention, Rubino would have gotten away with planting his foot in the face of the suspect.
Meanwhile, Gondola is still facing charges of interfering with a police officer. She goes to trial next month.