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Off-duty police officer charged with punching driver for honking horn at him

Off-duty police officer charged with punching driver for honking horn at him (Copyright 2024 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)
Off-duty police officer charged with punching driver for honking horn at him (Copyright 2024 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

A Connecticut police officer was charged with third-degree assault and breach of peace after he was caught on camera allegedly punching a man in the face during a road rage incident.

Thomas Brocuglio of Enfield was driving in Rocky Hill on 8 December when he stopped in front of a truck belonging to off-duty police officer Allen Ganter at an intersection.

Mr Brocuglio became frustrated because the officer stopped in a right-turn-only lane, according to an investigative report by the Meriden Police Department which employs Mr Ganter

He proceeded to honk his horn and yelled “What the f*ck are we doing?” and “d**k head” in the direction of the officer’s vehicle, according to the report.

The man beeped his horn again and yelled “What are you doing? Wait all f*cking day”. A few moments later, the off-duty officer stepped out of his vehicle with what appeared to be his police badge and came over to Mr Brocuglio’s car and said, “You want to be a d**k? You can’t take a right on red a*****e.”

Mr Brocuglio responded, “Really? Where does it say that? It says ‘stop here on red’”. The sign in footage of the incident did advise drivers to stop on red. The two continued to bicker about whether the off-duty officer was not paying attention to the road sign and instead on his phone.

Mr Ganter then walked back over to Mr Brocuglio’s driver’s side window and told him “I’ll see you with a ticket and I’ll call your supervisor”. At another point, the officer took a picture of the driver’s license plate. The driver responds, “Sure sounds good”. Seconds later, he adds, “Let me get your badge number”.

That’s when the officer came back around and punched the man on the left side of his face. Mr Ganter proceeded to call the man an “a*****e”. As he walks back to his truck, he stops and turns toward the driver and says, “Who do you think you’re f******g with? You want to get arrested?”

Mr Brocuglio responded: “You’re going to get arrested for assaulting a civilian”. He then took out his phone and contacted authorities.

Mr Ganter was arrested on 20 December. His department suspended him for five days without pay and placed him on administrative duty within the same month as the incident. He’s required to attend de-escalation training for three consecutive years.

A spokesperson for the Meriden Police Department told The Independent the officer continues to be on administrative duty. The Independent separately reached out to Mr Brocuglio for comment but did not hear back by the time of publication.

When questioned by authorities about why the officer decided to punch the driver, he said, “It was just one of those, you know, moments of plain stupidity on my part”.

Lieutenant Darrin McKay, an internal affairs commander for the department, determined that Mr Ganter had violated departmental rules of conduct, including criminal conduct and conduct unbecoming an employee. Mr Ganter’s case has been referred to adult probation and his next court date is 30 January 2025.