City | 2:37 pm | July 6, 2012 | By James Lu

FBI drops brutality probe of NHPD officer

The Federal Bureau of Investigation has dropped its probe into a New Haven Police Department officer’s conduct during a June 2 arrest.

The FBI announced that it had concluded its civil rights investigation into NHPD Sgt. Chris Rubino, prompted by Rubino’s alleged beating of a handcuffed 24-year old man fighting with officers, in a Thursday press release. The NHPD’s Internal Affair’s probe into the incident — focusing on whether Rubino violated department policy with his conduct toward a woman who recorded the incident on her cell phone — is ongoing.

The FBI launched its investigation into the incident on June 5.

“The Federal Bureau of Investigation informed the Department they had concluded the preliminary inquiry and determined the matter is more appropriately addressed by the New Haven Police Department’s Internal Affairs Division and local authorities,” the NHPD press release said.

The ongoing NHPD probe will investigate whether Rubino’s conduct violated General Order 311, which protects the rights of citizens to photograph or video-record police activity in public. That policy took effect last March following several controversial incidents, including the botched raid of the Morse-Stiles Screw at Elevate Lounge in October 2010.

Jennifer Gondola, an Ansonia, Conn., resident who filmed the incident on her cell phone, told the New Haven Independent that she put her phone in her bra after Rubino demanded she hand it over. When she did not comply with his command, Rubino handcuffed her “really tight” and ordered another officer to pat her down and remove the phone, Gondola said, adding that Rubino pocketed the phone.

The NHPD’s IA unit has conducted six previous investigations into Rubino’s conduct in his 20-year career, and concluded that he acted improperly in five of those instances.

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