A Hartford police detective who was accused of driving under the influence in Plainville in August and using several racial slurs during that arrest has been fired.
Plainville police arrested 44-year–old Robert Lanza on Aug. 27 and he was charged with driving under the influence and interfering with an officer.
Police said Lanza refused to obey orders from Plainville police during the arrest, used racial slurs and tried to intimidate Plainville officers into giving him special treatment because he was a member of the Hartford Police Department.
Police said Lanza also “showed evidence of animus towards individuals based on race, suggested that individuals of certain races are treated less favorably by law enforcement due to their race” and “attempted to intimidate Plainville Police by advising them to never come to Hartford.”
In dashcam video Plainville police released, Lanza swore at the officers and could be heard using a racial slur.
The Hartford Police Department opened its own internal investigation after learning of the arrest and concluded that Lanza violated the Hartford Police Department Code of Conduct. He was terminated, effective Monday.
“These actions were egregious, deplorable and completely unacceptable for a Hartford Police Officer and are grounds for termination even before considering their present and future detrimental effect upon the operations of the Hartford Police Department. This causes concerns over Detective Lanza’s ability to perform the functions of a police officer, as well as the public trust and legitimacy in his ability to enforce the laws equitably without regard to race or ethnicity. His behavior discredited the Hartford Police Department, undermined the good order and discipline of the Department, and damaged working relationships with other law enforcement agencies,” Hartford police officials said in a statement.
Hartford Mayor Luke Bronin released a statement Monday in support of the decision to fire Lanza.
“I fully support Chief Rovella’s decision to terminate Detective Robert Lanza’s employment as a Hartford Police Officer. Detective Lanza’s actions during and after his arrest by the Plainville Police Department in August 2017 were wholly unacceptable and fell far short of the Hartford Police Department’s high standard of conduct,” Bronin said in a statement. “Today’s termination sends a strong message that the use of racial slurs will not be tolerated, and that racism has no place in the City of Hartford.”
Lanza was an 11-year veteran of the force and was placed on administrative duty during the investigation.