After a 20-year-old smashed a police cruiser’s window with a brick on Friday, police say, the Connecticut man revealed the motive for his attack.
Devon Adams-Almstad allegedly confessed to authorities that he purposefully sought a white police officer to attack, Hartford Assistant Chief Rafael Medina III told The Hartford Courant. He allegedly added that he hates law enforcement officers.
Police charged Adams-Almstad with a hate crime because of the attack, according to WTNH.
Under Connecticut law, it is a hate crime if someone harasses or intimidates another person based on their “actual or perceived race, religion, ethnicity, disability, sexual orientation, or gender identity or expression.”
The officer said he was sitting in his car around 9 p.m. Friday when a brick shattered his driver’s side window, almost hitting his head and giving him minor cuts, according to NBC Connecticut. Police say they arrested Adams-Almstad, who attributed his attack to recent news about law enforcement.
Earlier Friday, WFSB reported that Sgt. Stephen Barone — an officer for the Hartford Police Department — was put on administrative leave. The video alleged to show Barone saying that he is “a little trigger happy, I’m not going to lie” when he told suspects not to run away from him as he searched them for drugs.
Along with the hate crime charge, Adams-Almstad is in jail on a $100,000 bond and is charged with assault on police, criminal mischief, breach of peace and reckless endangerment, according to WTNH.
In May, the U.S. House overwhelmingly passed a bill that would make purposeful attacks on police officers a federal hate crime. The bill still needs to pass the U.S. Senate, where Utah Sen. Orrin Hatch, a Republican, and North Dakota Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, a Democrat, also proposed it. It would then need President Donald Trump’s signature.
Not everyone supports the idea. Groups like the ACLU and NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund signed onto a petition that pushed back against the bill, arguing that police officers should not be considered a protected class like racial, gender, sexual or faith minorities.
“Federal hate crimes laws are intended to address the unique problem of violence directed towards these historically persecuted groups,” the petition says. “Capturing police officers under a federal hate crimes framework would be inconsistent with the common understanding of hate crimes and weaken the purpose of the law as an effective response to prejudice-based violence.”
But in a press release, Sen. Heitkamp argued that the proposed law would help make sure police officers know they are protected.
“Our peace officers walk out the door every day not knowing what awaits them during the next shift,” she said. “We must make sure that all of our officers know that we have their back when they report for duty to keep our communities strong and safe.”