A Connecticut state trooper has been put on leave after he was captured on camera profanely berating a motorist during a traffic stop.
The trooper, Matthew Spina, pulled over the driver, Kevin A. Jette, on Monday after Jette allegedly sped past him on Interstate 95 near New Haven as Spina was pursuing another car for speeding.
The video, which has been viewed more than 300,000 times, shows the tense exchange that ensued. The trooper becomes irate after Jette questions him about the stop. “Who the f--- do you think you are worrying about what I’m doing?” Spina can be heard saying.
The video also shows Spina making Jette exit the car and briefly puts him in handcuffs after seeing something related to marijuana. Jette can be heard telling the trooper that he has a license for medicinal marijuana. Spina searches a bag inside the car before allowing Jette to leave.
“Mind your own business and be on your way. Don’t you ever f--- with me again,” Spina can be heard saying as he leaves. Police say that no law enforcement action was taken against Jette during the stop.
The following day, Jette released another video giving his account. Jette said he saw Spina driving erratically in traffic and flipped his middle finger at him without realizing he was a police officer. “Once I realized it was a police officer, I pulled my hand back in. Even still, that police officer had no reason to do what he did. He was acting like a loose cannon,” Jette said.
Jette said that Spina had no grounds to pull him over and wants to make sure the officer is held accountable. “He never asked me for my license, my registration, my proof of insurance or to even see my medical marijuana card. He didn't ticket me because he had no reason to ticket me.”
In a statement, Col. Stavros Mellekas, the deputy commissioner of the state police, called Spina’s behavior “disturbing” and said an internal affairs investigation had begun.
Mellekas also said that many troopers are under “extreme stress” because of the COVID-19 pandemic and that Spina, who has been with the state police since 2001, has been referred to the agency’s employee assistance program.