MANCHESTER, CONNECTICUT – An embattled Manchester police officer got his badge and gun back last week, but a departmental probe into allegations that he grabbed his estranged wife by the neck in November and threatened her could begin as early as today.
Officer Todd Belknap was restored to full duty after prosecutors at Rockville Superior Court dropped a breach of peace charge against him, saying that he had sought counseling and his wife did not wish to pursue the charge further.
Belknap, a former patrol officer who joined the force in 1990, was suspended for a short time after his arrest by state police in November and was later placed on restricted duty. On Wednesday, once the charge against him was dismissed and a criminal protective order lifted, Belknap was assigned to the department’s accreditation bureau.
But the resolution of the criminal charge also cleared the way for internal affairs to begin its own investigation, Capt. Roy Abbie said. “The internal investigation could not be done until the criminal investigation ran its course,” he said.
Belknap, 37, declined comment Friday except to say he will cooperate fully with the internal investigation of Karin Belknap’s allegations. Karin Belknap told a state trooper in November that her husband reached out of the driver’s side window of his car, grabbed her by the throat and shirt, and said “Armageddon is coming.”
Todd Belknap denied that he grabbed his wife or threatened her, according to the arrest warrant. He told the investigators he was sitting in his car outside his wife’s apartment, discussing some legal issues regarding paperwork for one of their cars. He also told police his wife had previously made false accusations against him.
Last spring, during an internal affairs investigation, Manchester police could not substantiate Karin Belknap’s earlier allegations that Belknap had been violent toward her.
But Manchester police charged Todd Belknap with assault in 1992 after two incidents involving another woman, his girlfriend at the time, in Manchester. The criminal charges were dismissed after Belknap was granted entry into a probation program that required him to attend family violence classes.
She sued the police department, contending that police ignored her call for help after the first alleged attack. The case was settled for $55,000.