New video and documents reveal East Hartford police lieutenant lied to state troopers during his DUI arrest

Lt. Joe Ficacelli has been on desk duty since January. He is facing both a DUI charge and an internal affairs investigation for his alleged conduct.

EAST HARTFORD, Conn. — New videos of an East Hartford Police Lieutenant being arrested on suspicion of DUI were released, showing the command officer lying to state police and claiming to have a heart attack during the traffic stop.

Lt. Joe Ficacelli has been on desk duty since January. He is facing both the DUI charge and an internal affairs investigation for his alleged conduct that January night. 

“Can you call me an ambulance? I feel like I’m having a heart attack,” Ficacelli can be heard saying on state police body camera footage as he clutches his chest.

The incident took place on a rural road in Somers the morning of Ficacelli’s DUI arrest on Jan. 28. 

RELATED: East Hartford Police Lieutenant arrested for DUI also demonstrated questionable behavior during previous traffic stop: Exclusive

When asked about the video, East Hartford Police Chief Mack Hawkins declined to comment.

The video shows a state trooper ask Ficacelli if he was “driving at some point.” Despite his response being “no,” the state police investigative report revealed that is not true. 

A Somers paramedic saw the vehicle driving erratically and followed it. The paramedic reported seeing Ficacelli swap seats with Ficacelli’s friend, retired East Hartford Police Sgt. Robert Pronovost. Ficacelli allegedly told the paramedic to “F-off”. 

While swapping seats, Ficacelli dropped his phone in the road. Troopers recovered it shortly afterward. 

“If you look through my phone you are going to have a problem,” said Ficacelli to the state police. 

“Am I? You are threatening me now?” asked the trooper. 

“We’re gonna have a big problem dude,” added Ficacelli. 

“Don’t threaten me dude,” the trooper responded.  

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According to the video, state police didn’t know Ficacelli was a law enforcement officer until finding his badge in a lockbox under the driver’s seat.  

Ficacelli was eventually taken to the hospital where, according to investigators, he initially refused treatment and a breathalyzer. At one point, he continued to berate a state trooper. 

“You are 50 something years old and you don’t know your social?” asked a trooper. 

“I’m not 50. I’m 40 F-ing five and I’m a lieutenant and I don’t know what you are,” replied Ficacelli. 

Ficacelli added, “I am going to embarrass the two of you in court. I hate to tell you but I’m gonna.” 

Except it was Ficacelli who may have felt embarrassed in court. 

Judge Kathleen McNamara told Ficacelli, “you should be ashamed of yourself,” and “I’ve never seen such an elaborate attempt to avoid doing a Field Sobriety Test.” 

East Hartford Police Chief Mack Hawkins was asked if he was aware of the video and what he was doing to hold Ficacelli accountable. 

RELATED: 3 police officers, 1 retired officer, charged with DUI

Hawkins replied, “I can’t answer that question at this time. I have to finish reviewing the initial report from the internal affairs division. It’s still under investigation. At the conclusion of the investigation I can answer that question.”

When asked if it is conduct becoming of a law enforcement officer, Hawkins replied, “I can’t answer any more questions at this point.” The public information officer then escorted Hawkins behind closed doors. 

East Hartford Mayor Connor Martin said in a statement, “It is important to me that the actions of our officers, either on or off-duty, reflect the hard work and values of the East Hartford Police Department.”

Town officials said the internal affairs investigation will be wrapping up within the next month. The judge said she is waiting to see what the East Hartford Police Department will do before deciding how to proceed on the DUI charge.

Matt Caron is a reporter at FOX61 News. He can be reached at mcaron@fox61.com. Follow him on Facebook, X and Instagram.

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