Officer’s Facebook posts subject of internal investigation

In this 2015 file photo, Naugatuck police Lt. Bryan Cammarata speaks during a ceremony at the police department. Police Chief Christopher Edson has launched an internal affairs investigation into videos Cammarata posted on his personal Facebook page. –FILE PHOTO

NAUGATUCK — Police Chief Christopher Edson has launched an internal affairs investigation into videos posted on a high-ranking officer’s personal Facebook page in which he appears to express anti-immigrant sentiments.

The subject of the investigation and the officer that appears in the videos is Lt. Bryan Cammarata, who in a statement said the videos were intended to be satire.

A news release issued by the Naugatuck Police Department on Sunday states the department was made aware on Friday of two undated videos posted by Cammarata on his personal Facebook page.

“Chief Edson has found the content of these videos concerning and has initiated an internal affairs investigation to determine if departmental policies have been violated,” the release states.

The New Haven Register reported the videos were obtained by Hearst Connecticut Media, which owns the New Haven Register, Friday afternoon and were sent to Naugatuck Deputy Police Chief Joshua Bernegger with a request for comment. The New Haven Register published two videos on its website, reporting they had come from Cammarata’s Facebook page.

In one video, Cammarata, who refers to himself as the “moron whisperer” in the video, talks about how his “luck has been changing” and he has been able to walk to the “front of the line” at a few locations in Waterbury, including a walk-in clinic, a Walmart store and the Department of Motor Vehicles. In the video, Cammarata puts on a baseball hat with the letters “ICE,” in reference to the U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement agency tasked with upholding immigration law, and says he doesn’t know what’s happening and is preparing to walk into another store.

In another video, Cammarata talks about how the day the video was taken is a “day without an immigrant, or some crap” and “it’s working out great.” In the video, he speaks of walking into a Dunkin’ Donuts and “spoke English and they understood English.”

“A Day Without Immigrants” happened on Feb. 16, 2017. The day involved protests and boycotts in response to President Donald Trump’s hardline position on immigration and illegal immigration.

“Chief Edson reiterates that the message relayed in these videos is in contrast to the values of the Naugatuck Police Department and not representative of the high level of public service the community of Naugatuck expects and deserves,” the release issued by the department states.

As part of his duties, Cammarata, who has been a member of the Naugatuck Police Department for more than 18 years, served as the department’s public information officer.  He has been reassigned from this duty while the internal investigation is conducted, said Lt. Colin McAllister, who is covering as the department’s public information officer.

McAllister said Cammarata, whose position in the department is an administrative one, wasn’t placed on administrative leave and will continue to perform his other administrative duties during the investigation.

On Sunday, Cammarata issued a statement through the Naugatuck Police Union in which he apologizes for the videos, which he said were attempts at satire but placed him, and “unfortunately by extension, the Naugatuck Police Department in a bad light.”

“I am sorry for the videos that I posted. In posting them, I attempted to use satire to shed a humorous light on the issue of immigration that has been part of our country’s dialogue for the last few years,” Cammarata said in the statement. “My attempt at humor missed the mark. I have offended folks in the community with my commentary. I am truly sorry for that. As a police officer, father and community volunteer, I can do better.”

Cammarata said in the statement the thoughts expressed in the videos are his own and not a reflection of the Naugatuck Police Department.

“I know that I have to earn back the trust and respect of those that I serve and I intend to do so,” the statement reads. “Our communities are strong because of the diverse views, opinions and cultures of the people who live in them. Naugatuck is a reflection of that diversity. The folks who live and work here deserve to be judged on the contributions that they make to the community and the kindness that they share. Broad disparagement of groups of people does not build community strength. My commentary and videos likely weakened the bonds that bring our communities together. Today I commit to working harder for all the people that I serve, and I will recognize the dignity of each person that I encounter.

“I have nothing but love and compassion in my heart for all people of every color, creed, gender and orientation and have dedicated my life towards helping others at every opportunity.”

The Republican-American contributed to this article.

 

The following is the press release issued by the Naugatuck Police Department:

On February 15, 2019 the Naugatuck Police Department was made aware of two undated videos posted by Naugatuck Police Lieutenant Bryan Cammarata on his personal Facebook page. Chief Edson has found the content of these videos concerning and has initiated an internal affairs investigation to determine if Departmental policies have been violated.

Chief Edson reiterates that the message relayed in these videos is in contrast to the values of the Naugatuck Police Department and not representative of the high level of public service the community of Naugatuck expects and deserves.

 

The following is a statement from Lt. Bryan Cammarata released by the Naugatuck Police Union:

Over the weekend I was confronted by news outlets regarding videos that I had posted on my personal Facebook account as far back as 2017. Those videos have offended folks in Naugatuck and surrounding communities and they have placed me, and unfortunately by extension, the Naugatuck Police Department in a bad light.

I am sorry for the videos that I posted. In posting them, I attempted to use satire to shed a humorous light on the issue of immigration that has been part of our country’s dialogue for the last few years. My attempt at humor missed the mark. I have offended folks in the community with my commentary. I am truly sorry for that. As a police officer, father, and community volunteer, I can do better.

The thoughts that I expressed in those videos are mine alone and I take responsibility for them. They are not a reflection of the Naugatuck Police Department, and I apologize to my brothers and sisters on the police force whose integrity and respect should not have been questioned because of my actions.

Throughout my career, I have sought to perform my job with the highest integrity, and my record reflects that. I have worked to ensure that the men and women who work by my side deserve the respect that they have invariably earned in the community.

I know that I have to earn back the trust and respect of those that I serve and I intend to do so. Our communities are strong because of the diverse views, opinions, and cultures of the people who live in them. Naugatuck is a reflection of that diversity. The folks who live and work here deserve to be judged on the contributions that they make to the community and the kindness that they share. Broad disparagement of groups of people does not build community strength. My commentary and videos likely weakened the bonds that bring our communities together. Today I commit to working harder for all the people that I serve, and I will recognize the dignity of each person that I encounter.

I have nothing but love and compassion in my heart for all people of every color, creed, gender and orientation and have dedicated my life towards helping others at every opportunity.

Sincerely,

Lt. Bryan Cammarata

Naugatuck Police Union