HARTFORD – After a brief search limited solely to current Connecticut prosecutors, the Criminal Justice Commission today was deadlocked between both candidates for the position of Inspector General. In a tied vote, three Commission members voted for New Britain State’s Attorney Brian Preleski, and three voted for Bridgeport prosecutor C. Robert Satti. The Criminal Justice Commission indicated that it would send both names to the legislature’s Judiciary Committee, which must by law review the Commission’s nominee as part of the appointment process.
The following is a reaction from Melvin Medina, ACLU of Connecticut public policy and advocacy director:
“It is clear that the search process for the first Inspector General, which only permitted applicants who are current prosecutors in Connecticut, was deeply flawed and did not yield the best qualified applicants for the position, resulting in no nominee for the role.
The Inspector General position was created out of a movement to value Black lives by beginning to hold police accountable. The person in this role must at least be deeply committed to valuing Black lives by seeking justice for people hurt or killed by police. Neither of the candidates who appeared before the Criminal Justice Commission today seemed to meet that qualification. Both applicants’ responses, when questioned in our survey and during today’s interviews, call into question their ability and even willingness to do this job.
We call on the legislature to fix this by reopening the search process and by clarifying, through legislation, that the search process for the Inspector General position must be open to all qualified applicants, not just those who are currently employed by the Division of Criminal Justice.
Connecticut has already spent years failing Black and Latinx people by failing to hold police accountable for violence, and we cannot afford another wasted opportunity to correct course. Connecticut’s Inspector General must be prepared to use their role to end police violence, not be resigned to the status quo.”
The Connecticut Inspector General position was created by the legislature through a police accountability law passed this summer. That law requires the Inspector General to 1) investigate police uses of deadly force, including every case in which someone dies in police or law enforcement custody 2) investigate every death in Department of Correction custody 3) prosecute cases in which a peace officer violated the state’s use of force standard, or failed to intervene or report the incident as required by law 3) and recommend censure, suspension, renewal, cancelation or revocation of a peace officer's certification to the Police Officer Standards and Training Council (POSTC). By law, the position must be an independent agency within the Division of Criminal Justice, with a separate office location and separate staff.
For more information regarding today's meeting, and for the applicants' responses to an ACLU of Connecticut survey: https://www.acluct.org/en/news/new-inspector-general-and-process-choosin...