ACLU of Connecticut Statement Regarding Fatal Shooting by Bridgeport Police

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 10, 2017

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

HARTFORD — On Tuesday night, a person was shot and killed when a Bridgeport police officer fired his or her weapon at the moving car the person was driving. Police also shot and injured the car’s passenger, 21-year-old Julian Fyffe. The Bridgeport Police Department has not released the name of the officer who shot the driver and passenger, nor has it released the name or age of the person whom police shot and killed. The Waterbury State’s Attorney is overseeing the initial investigation into the shooting. The following is a reaction from David McGuire, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Connecticut:

“This week, we saw Officer Roy Oliver charged with murder in Texas after he fired a single shot into the head of a 15-year-old boy while he was riding in a car. In March, Bridgeport Police shot an 18-year-old boy, who was armed only with a toy gun, in the face. That same month, Waterbury Police shot and seriously injured an 18-year-old boy who was driving a car. Now, a person is dead after a Bridgeport Police officer shot him while he was driving a car, and another young person is injured. What little information is available raises serious questions about whether Bridgeport police should even have chased this car under state law.

Police have killed another person in Connecticut, and another community is struggling to receive answers about what happened. How many people have to die or be seriously injured at the hands of law enforcement before Connecticut strengthens its laws to hold police accountable to the communities they are supposed to serve?

The Bridgeport community deserves a swift, thorough, and transparent account of what happened and an equally comprehensive and independent investigation. None of the answers provided by that investigation will bring back the life lost last night, but our state must find a solution to prevent this from happening again. This deadly incident, like far too many others in Connecticut’s recent past, shows the need for immediate action to ensure fair, just, and wise policing in our state. We urge the legislature, prosecutors, and police to build community trust and prevent further tragedies by coming together to support meaningful police reform before this year’s legislative session ends.”

The Connecticut General Assembly is currently considering several police reform bills. One of these proposals, H.B. 6663, is designed to improve investigations into police uses of force. If passed, this bill would create strict deadlines for the Division of Criminal Justice (DCJ) to complete initial police use of force investigations and require the DCJ to publicly release its findings. In cases where investigators found police misconduct, the bill would require the police department to suspend the officer involved without pay, and to terminate his or her employment if the officer was convicted, pled guilty, or pled no contest to a crime related to that use of force.