ACLU of Connecticut Calls for Legislature to Pass Police Reform, Demands Bridgeport Police Department Release Information, Following Fatal Police Shooting of Jayson Negron

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 16, 2017

CONTACT: Meghan Smith, 860-992-7645, msmith@acluct.org  

In light of the Bridgeport police department’s fatal shooting of 15-year-old Jayson Negron, the ACLU of Connecticut joined lawmakers and community organizers at a press conference on Tuesday to call for the legislature to immediately strengthen Connecticut’s police accountability and transparency laws.

On May 9, 2017, Jayson Negron was shot and killed by Bridgeport police Officer James Boulay. Days later, video footage of the aftermath of the shooting began circulating on social media. Contradicting the Bridgeport Police Department’s earlier statements to Jayson Negron’s family, the video appears to show that he had not been shot in the head, and that he was alive when police handcuffed him and placed him face down in the street.

The following is a statement from David McGuire, executive director of the ACLU of Connecticut, who joined lawmakers at Tuesday’s press conference calling for legislators to immediately take up and pass police reform legislation:

“Jayson Negron’s death was preventable, not inevitable. Jayson Negron died because of an entire system that has failed to hold police accountable to the communities they are supposed to serve. Connecticut’s legislature has the power to change that system. Yet as some legislators spoke out about the need for police reform after yet another fatal shooting, their colleagues let a bill to fix Connecticut’s police complaint system die in committee. This failure to act on of one of the most critical justice issues of our time is unconscionable.

The Bridgeport Police Department’s many self-contradictions in the aftermath of Jayson Negron’s death raise serious questions about the department’s policies, transparency, training, and accountability. We are calling for the Bridgeport Police Department to, at minimum, immediately release department policies and Officer Boulay’s training history to the public.

Bridgeport must fix the problems in its own police department, and Connecticut must adopt statewide police reform. We will not be able to solve these difficult problems overnight, but we refuse to accept the idea that Connecticut is destined to repeat this cycle of fatal encounters with police and racial disparities in policing, which leave some of our communities over policed and under protected.”

During Tuesday’s press conference, the ACLU of Connecticut joined legislators in calling for the Connecticut General Assembly to pass H.B. 6663, An Act Concerning Police Misconduct, in light of this most recent fatal use of police force. The bill would create deadlines for out-of-district prosecutors to complete initial investigations into police uses of force and require police departments to place officers who are under investigation for uses of force on unpaid leave. The bill would also update Connecticut state law, which requires out-of-district prosecutors to only investigate deadly police uses of force, to reflect current practice, in which out-of-district prosecutors also investigate when police seriously injure a member of the public.

The ACLU of Connecticut’s earlier statement regarding the fatal shooting of Jayson Negron by Bridgeport police is here: http://www.acluct.org/updates/aclu-of-connecticut-statement-regarding-fatal-shooting-by-bridgeport-police

The ACLU of Connecticut’s previous statement regarding the release of video footage showing the aftermath of the shooting is here: http://www.acluct.org/updates/aclu-of-connecticut-statement-regarding-the-release-of-video-footage-of-jayson-negrons-death

The ACLU of Connecticut’s testimony in support of H.B. 6663 is here: http://www.acluct.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/ACLUCT_2017-Testimony-Supporting-HB-6662-and-6663-Police-Misconduct.pdf