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Ex-New Haven police officer 1st to be barred for 'general misconduct'

NEW HAVEN (AP) — A former New Haven police officer has become the first officer in Connecticut to be permanently barred from law enforcement for “general misconduct” under the state's 2020 police accountability law that was passed in the wake of the George Floyd killing in Minneapolis.

Gary Gamarra, who resigned in December 2020 after being accused of coercing two women to have sex, had his certification revoked last week by the Police Officer Standards and Training Council, effectively prohibiting him from serving as an officer anywhere in Connecticut.

Karen Boisvert, administrator of the Connecticut Police Academy, confirmed to the New Haven Register that Gamarra is the first officer to be decertified under the "general misconduct” provision of Connecticut's law. She declined to rule out the possibility that his certification could have been stripped under the council's previous authority, which was limited to when an officer is convicted of a felony, lied during the initial certification process or engaged in other specific violations.

Under the new law, the council is allowed to decertify an officer if they've used excessive force or committed an act that “undermines public confidence in law enforcement.”

A message was left seeking comment with Gamarra's attorney.

Three other decertifications due to felony convictions have also been issued in 2021. They include former Bridgeport Police Chief Armando Perez, who was sentenced in April to one year and one day in prison for rigging the hiring process that led to his appointment in 2018. Under the new police accountability law, Gamarra, Perez and the other officers are also prevented from working as private security guards.

The New Haven Police Department launched two internal affairs investigations, conducted in 2019 and 2020, after the executive director of the Sex Workers and Allies Network shared allegations from two women that an officer later identified as Gamarra had solicited sexual acts from them and how they felt pressured to perform the acts.

According to internal affairs reports, Gamarra had initially denied having sexual contact with the women but later said the encounters were consensual. His attorney, Norm Pattis, has previously said that Gamarra resigned under duress after the case became a public controversy.

 

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