By Elio Gugliotti, Editor
NAUGATUCK — A veteran officer was suspended for two days without pay after an internal investigation concluded he violated the Naugatuck Police Department’s code of conduct during a traffic stop in September.
Officer Ian Kosky, 42, served his suspension Oct. 15 and Oct. 16 and was also ordered to attend de-escalation training, the second time he has been ordered to retake such training, according to internal police documents and a letter from Police Chief Steven Hunt to Kosky detailing the discipline. His salary is $87,887, according to police.
The internal investigation stemmed from a complaint filed by a Naugatuck resident about a traffic stop on Sept. 21. Investigators determined the way Kosky spoke with Jonas Barrocas, who filed the complaint, was “unprofessional and a poor representation” of the department, according to the chief’s letter.
Kosky was being paid by an outside company to guard a construction site on Rubber Avenue when Barrocas drove around a police cruiser that was blocking a lane on the road at the intersection of Arch Street. Barrocas drove in the wrong lane on Rubber Avenue and into the A1 Plaza parking lot at 129 Rubber Ave., according to police.
Surveillance video, released by police, showed Kosky approach the car as Barrocas climbed out. The two are face-to-face at one point, and after about a minute, Kosky grabbed the man’s hand, turned him around and pushed him up against the car, the video showed.
Body camera footage from two officers who responded shows Barrocas and Kosky continued a heated exchange in the parking lot. At one point, Barrocas says Kosky’s actions were uncalled for. Kosky responded, “Don’t worry you’re going to pay for what you called for.”
Barrocas is heard in body camera footage telling officers Kosky ran up to the car screaming at him. He says he asked for another officer when Kosky first asked for his license because he felt his safety was in danger, according to the video. He says he got his license and had it in his hand when Kosky slammed him against his car.
Kosky told Sgt. Michael Wawrzyniak that Barrocas screamed at him and wouldn’t initially give him his license, according to the video. Kosky says he told Barrocas to give him his license several times and he pulled away, so he “whipped him around.”
The internal investigation concluded that Kosky’s use of force was justified.
(Naugatuck police released the above footage from body cameras worn by officers and a surveillance camera.)
Barrocas complained about his shoulder hurting after the incident; Kosky told him if he goes to the hospital he’d be taken into custody and arrested for interfering with an officer, the video showed.
“The Naugatuck Police Department holds its officers to a high standard during their interactions with the public,” said Deputy Police Chief C. Colin McAllister. “This incident is not consistent with that standard. While not an excuse, we also recognize the tremendous pressure that all frontline workers have been experiencing in 2020.”
The department will continue to make “employee wellness a priority,” he said.
Sgt. Alexia Castro, president of the union representing Naugatuck’s officers, did not respond to an email last week seeking comment on the suspension.
The two-day suspension was the first time Kosky was suspended in his 14 years with the department, according to documents provided to the Citizen’s News in response to a Freedom of Information Act request.
Kosky has been issued two written reprimands during his career for violating department policy, records show.
In August 2010, Kosky was reprimanded for continuing to pursue a motorcyclist who was suspected of operating under the influence, despite being told to end the pursuit by a supervisor. Records show Kosky continued the chase without his cruiser’s lights and sirens on. The driver eventually crashed and was arrested.
Kosky was reprimanded for violating the department’s pursuit policy, which prohibits officers from engaging motorcycles in a pursuit unless a supervisor approves it, according to a letter to Kosky in August 2010 from then-Chief Christopher Edson.
In February 2015, Kosky received a written reprimand and was required to go through de-escalation training for violating the department’s code of conduct.
The discipline was the result of an internal investigation into how Kosky and officer John Julian handled a noise complaint in November 2014. The investigation determined that the officers eventually engaged a man, who was not aggressive or threatening, in a back-and-forth argument, instead of de-escalating the situation. The argument led to the officers charging the man with breach of peace, according to records.
Kosky has earned nine awards during his career, records show, including the medal for outstanding service for his work as the department’s canine officer.
In May 2017, Kosky and K-9 Vane tracked and found a suicidal woman lying in woods in the area of Spencer Street. The woman, who took a large quantity of prescription medications, had cuts on both her forearms, according to police.
In May 2011, Kosky and Lt. Brain Newman responded to a call for an unresponsive victim. They gave the victim, who was not breathing, CPR until an ambulance arrived. The victim recovered, and the officers received the life saving award.
Kosky and Vane also received unit citations for tracking an armed robbery suspect in December 2013 and, in July 2013, recovering forensic evidence in a sexual assault investigation involving a juvenile victim.
Kosky was also recognized by the Naugatuck Exchange Club at its 2020 Officer of the Year and recognized by Mothers Against Drunk Driving in 2011 for traffic enforcement, police said.