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New Haven cop first to be banned from force under 2020 police accountability law – CT Insider

Summary

A New Haven police officer who resigned after being accused of coercing two women into sexual encounters became the first cop in the state to be permanently barred from law enforcement for general misconduct outlined under the provisions of a 2020 police accountability law.

Proponents of a wide-ranging police accountability law that went into effect last October said Gamarra’s decertification is an example of the law working to keep certain officers off the streets. The l…….

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A New Haven police officer who resigned after being accused of coercing two women into sexual encounters became the first cop in the state to be permanently barred from law enforcement for general misconduct outlined under the provisions of a 2020 police accountability law.

Proponents of a wide-ranging police accountability law that went into effect last October said Gamarra’s decertification is an example of the law working to keep certain officers off the streets. The law, passed with mostly Democratic support, was drafted in response to nationwide protests against police brutality and abuse that were touched off by the killing of George Floyd at the hands of police in Minneapolis.

“I do think it is a sign to the public that when officers step well outside of the boundaries, that there are real repercussions for them,” said state Sen. Gary Winfield, D-New Haven, who backed the legislation as co-chair of the Judiciary Committee.

The law placed tougher rules on police searches and the use of deadly force, required officers to wear body cameras and barred the use of chokeholds. It also allowed POST to revoke an officer’s certification for “conduct undermining confidence in law enforcement,” such as falsifying reports or engaging in racial profiling.

Previously, the council’s powers to decertify officers had been limited to cases where an officer was convicted of a felony, lied during the initial certification process or engaged in limited other specific violations.

According to a list of decertified officers maintained by POST, Gamarra is the first officer to be decertified under the general “misconduct” provision of the new law. The other three decertifications issued since the law went into effect, including the decertification of former Bridgeport Police Chief Armando Perez, were due to felony convictions, which were covered under the previous law.

The 2020 law also prevents Gamarra and other decertified cops from serving as private security guards.

Police Academy Administrator Karen Boisvert confirmed on Wednesday that Gamarra’s decertification was the first to be done under the expanded provisions of the 2020 law, though she declined to rule out the possibility that POST could have stripped Gamarra of his certification under the council’s previous authority.

“He would not have been able to be decertified under this particular element because it never existed,” Boisvert said, adding that Gamarra’s actions were “pretty straightforward under the misconduct” provision of the law.

According to police, Gamarra allegedly engaged in inappropriate sexual relationships with two women he met while working as a patrol officer in the Fair Haven neighborhood. Both internal affairs investigations began after the department received a tip from the Sex Workers and Allies Network.

One of the women said she felt “obligated to get into the car because he was an officer,” according to an internal affairs report, which added that the woman felt that Gamarra had “raped” her.

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Source: https://www.ctinsider.com/news/article/New-Haven-cop-first-to-be-stripped-of-16652472.php