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Thursday, March 4, 2021

WILL HARTFORD EVER CHANGE?

 Do you remember in the not too distant past when the taxpayers of Connecticut bailed out the City of Hartford to prevent bankruptcy? That was supposed to be a fresh start for the City of Hartford to get itself back on a solid fiscal standing.

That fresh start never happened.

 The Hartford City Council has been derelict in their performance and has probably done more to move Hartford toward bankruptcy than any possible solvency.

Along that path, the brain trust at the Hartford City Council decided they couldn't trust the Office of the Corporation Counsel, as provided by the Hartford City Charter.

Instead, the Council President and her minions (less 3 dissenting votes ) chose to hire an outside attorney at additional , unneeded, expense. The less three are Councilpersons Josh Michtom, Wildaliz Bermudez and John Gale  who actually did not support the hiring. Michtom even goes so far as not taking his salary as a Councilman. Michtom';s real job is with the Connecticut Court system as a Public Defender and his ethical standards preclude him from taking the salary. Isn't that refreshing, ethics actually in play by an attorney.

Rather than rehash all of the details here are two of Rebecca Lurye's stories from the Hartford Courant,  https://www.courant.com/community/hartford/hc-news-hartford-kennelly-council-advice-20210206-5tjngu67v5czjgzsimwwtvapvm-story.html , and here https://www.courant.com/community/hartford/hc-news-hartford-council-member-questions-attorney-hire-20210301-cvm6v6kc4vfrzbjzpcw2d2etzi-story.html

There are many troubling aspects of this hiring of Attorney John Kennelly not the least being the political stink of corruption which apparently Hartford's Democrats and Council President Maly Rosado can't smell. Kennelly currently sits on the First District  Hartford Democratic Town Committee which is one of the first steps in the approval process for anyone wishing to move into Hartford's politics. Anyone opposing Kennelly  and falling out of favor would most likely have a difficult time when it comes to re-election or nominations.The three votes opposing Kennelly's appointment are two Working Families Party members and the shunned Democrat who was forced to form his own party to run, John Gale. WFP members are seperate from Hartford Democratic Town Committee influence

I think one of the most troubling aspects of Kennelly's hiring is that  Kennelly refused to provide requested information  to Michtom and others on what Michtom felt might have been apparently questionable billing. Kennelly apparently refused to provide the information to Michtom claiming "attorney client privilege". Maybe it is time for a remedial course in law school for Mr. Kennelly. Isn't Council Michtom and any other Councilmember asking questions actually the "CLIENT".

What is Mr. Kennelly hiding and why can't he share information with the full City Council?

Something is dirty in Hartford City Hall and for once it is not emanating from the Office of Mayor Luke Bronin.

End the political corruption and hire a real attorney when the Hartford City Council needs advice. One without the blemishes and warts on their legal reputation.

Monday, February 1, 2021

VACCINATION DYSFUNCTION

 


I have been reluctant to say too much about the Covid-19 processes up to this point. It is uncharted territory for most, so it is hard to be too critical.

That is up until now. The rollout of the vaccination process is a complete and total disaster.. Is it any wonder as to why people may not have confidence in receiving the vaccine when you see what a mess the process has become/ Almost every person I have spoke with has their own disaster story of trying to get in line to get the vaccine in their arm. Websites crashing, 800 numbers ringing busy for hours on end and many senior citizens unable to schedule themselves to receive the shot. It goes on and on.

But the frustration doesn't end there. People jumping the line in front of the elderly eligible persons for their own selfish protection. I guess people are always willing to game the system, but where is the integrity? Is our conscience totally bankrupt? The story of Board of Education members in the Eastern part of Connecticut jumping the line with ;phony credentials and e-mail addresses form the Board they represent is disgusting. What is the message that they sent to  the constituents they are supposed to represent or more importantly to the children they should be setting the example for. You can read that story here https://www.courant.com/news/connecticut/hc-news-teachers-union-angry-over-vaccinations-20210126-q4e7fchc7jddtffutfxzipel6m-story.html . The entire Board should be forced to resign immediately if it happened as the report indicates

Similar behavior should be met with severe penalties or even criminal prosecution. Sadly there are many more stories like this. And we haven't have even started the 1-C group yet for vaccines . Smokers have been added, but asthma sufferers have been removed. Where is the sense? And how many people will suddenly become smokers to jump the list now.

It is also aggravating to hear the news Sunday that terrorists housed at Guantanamo Bay will most likely be getting the vaccine before many Americans with pre-existing conditions or elderly will get the potential life saving vaccine. It is also interesting to see the ACLU advocating for inmates in Connecticut's prisons to jump the line for the vaccine. Surprisingly I don't hear them fighting for school teachers or even the Correction Officers who further risk their lives every day they show up to work now with Covid 19, and risk taking the virus home to their families. 

I am probably over simplifying  this, but if the Prison employees are vaccinated and no outsiders are allowed into the prisons, how does Covid 19 spread in the prisons? Shouldn't the Correction employees being vaccinated greatly reduce the risk to the inmates? How would it b e brought into a prison? And wouldn't it make more sense to make sure the general population, including seniors and people with pre\-existing conditions are properly protected first?

Maybe if our politicians and the Medical CEO's had to get in line with the rest of society, they might find a way to make the systems work more efficiently and deliver the vaccine. But as of now they all seem more focused on their daily public relations campaigns over the airways and their flashy little TV ads touting their praise for themselves instead of doing everything possible to make sure the system works,

In the meantime my thoughts and well wishes are with our first responders, teachers, medical professionals, essential workers  correction officers and their families to remain safe and healthy and maybe eventually common sense will win out.

Saturday, December 12, 2020

THEY JUST DON'T GET IT

 

Are those gloves protection from Rats?

Are we supposed to believe the statements of Mayor Luke Bronin and Hartford Police Chief Jason Thody after the revelation of the "Dead Pool. They both seemed to indicate that the "Dead Pool" would be an opportunity to work on gaining the public's trust and change the culture at the Hartford Police Department.

Like the old adage goes, "actions speak louder than words". And the actions show that there is no intent on changing the culture . The "thin blue line" is alive and well to cover up Police misconduct. That was reinforced Friday by Assistant Chief Raphael Medina.

According to sources (Medina refers to them as rats) Medina held a meeting with HPD supervisors on Friday. Instead of using the meeting as an opportunity to reinforce the culture change with the Supervisors, Medina instead went into a tirade,  pacing in front of the room vowing that he will "go after the rats" and the "rats will be fired" .

Clearly business as usual in Medina's dinosaur way of Police /Community relations. So what is the tone Bronin promised to set or is Medina carrying out Thody's mission of keeping the cone of silence over Police misconduct. Are they really that out of touch to be encouraging more wrong doing like the dead pool?

Things will never change if the HPD Administration doesn't set the tone and threatening people that are fed up with wrongdoing, racism  and Police misconduct  is inexcusable. It is no wonder my sources call me if this is the response they get from their own Chief.

And I also have to ask why the Major Crimes Lieutenant was removed from his position the Major Crimes Commander because of his alleged poor judgement while he is under scrutiny for his actions. That same Lieutenant was allowed to work overtime last night in Patrol  as the midnight shift   Patrol Commander. So did his poor judgement exhibited  in failing to report and allegedly help organize the Dead Pool not effect his ability to properly supervise a Patrol shift?  

The administration of the Hartford Police Department is a mess and Medinas meeting clearly sends the wrong message to HPD Officers as to what is acceptable. Calling officers "rats" because they expose wrongdoing is obscene and maybe it is time for Medina to enjoy his State Police Pension and leave the supervision of Hartford Police officers to  clearer thinkers, professionals  who understand their role in a modern day Police Department. A Police Department that is serious in dealing with Police/Community relations. 

Friday, December 11, 2020

FROM HPD: THURSDAY NIGHT HOMICIDE

  On Thursday December 10, 2020, at approximately 2113 hours, patrol officers were dispatched to 138 Hollywood Avenue on the report of shots fired. Upon arrival an unresponsive gunshot victim was located. Officers provided immediate medical attention, however, the victim was pronounced deceased a short time later. The Major Crimes and Crime Scene Divisions responded and assumed control of the investigation.

 

   The deceased has been identified as Marc Anthony Glover DOB 09/17/1974, of 380 Park Avenue, Windsor, CT.

 

   Next of kin has been identified as Cheyrl Vann and Clinton Vann (Sister and father) of 1536 Corbin Avenue, New Britain CT 

Thursday, December 10, 2020

TREADING WATER IN THE "DEAD POOL"

"WOULD I DO THAT?"

I want to have confidence in the Hartford Police Department and their Internal Investigations, but under Chief Thody, I am leery. The investigation into his evading accident showed he knows how to manipulate a cover-up. I would probably be taken more seriously saying I believe in Santa Claus.

The coverup began  last Friday about 1:40PM when Major Crimes Lieutenant Paul Cicero was tipped off that I would be posting the Dead Pool scandal shortly. Cicero quickly sent out an email "decrying" the dead pool in an effort to draw attention away from himself. Cicero has allegedly engaged in an effort to place blame on others for disclosing the  existence of the "Dead Pool" but he was probably one of the first to start to send the text message outside the Band of Merry MCD (white) men.

In what appears to be a huge conflict of interest and a lack of ethics, Cicero was then allowed by Chief Thody to  continue on for several days as the spokesperson for HPD, able to spin the story , even though Cicero was neck deep and eventually became a target of the Internal investigation.

On Monday, Chief Jason Thody apparently came to his senses and realized he needed to do something as the scandal began to gain national media attention. Thody finally did what he should have done immediately after the "Dead Pool" came to light. Thody removed Cicero as the Commander of Major crimes and relieved Cicero of his media spokesperson responsibilities.

It is unclear why Thody was so quick to demote Detective Jeff Placzek and issue a 120 day suspension but didn't immediately take any action against Cicero. Thody also seemed to telegraph his expected coverup when he claimed in his "Facebook" posting that Cicero's removal was "temporary". How could he state that unless he had already made up his mind before the Investigation was even completed that Cicero would be cleared,

Do you remember the Kelly Baerga incident? She was disciplined and apparently received a lengthy suspension for talking to the Media after her incident with Sergeant Rodney, but Lieutenant Cicero can talk to the Media and the New York Post regarding an incident that he quite possibly orchestrated.

Now the internal investigation is being  conducted by Captain Jeff Rousseau. Officers that I know and trust their integrity (no, that doesn't include Jason Thody), they tell me that Rousseau is a "by the book" type of guy. Keep in mind he does still answer to Thody, but I have hope in Rousseau's integrity, Unfortunately, as the old saying goes, "garbage in garbage out". From what I am being told, the garbage coming out of the former Major Crimes commander's office  is flowing faster than the Murphy Road trash plant and it probably stinks about as much as the pile there on a July afternoon.

The "thin blue wall of silence" is still is alive and well inside HPD and it will be Rousseau's job to bust through it if he is going to arrive at the truth and maintain the public trust that Thody is so concerned with or so he claims. Good officer's need to stand up and show some backbone if things are going to change for the better

Detective Placzek used poor judgement in sending the "Dead Pool" text. I don't think there is any question about that. But does anyone really think he would have sent that out on his own, including his own Lieutenant, apparently both of the Major Crimes Sergeants , almost two dozen other Detectives as well as a Prosecutor at the Hartford Court and an Inspector from the Court. Highly unlikely unless he felt his Lieutenant approved.

And according to sources, the Lieutenant allegedly  did approve. Prior to the text message being sent by Placzek, a meeting was held in the Major Crimes Division attended by Lieutenant Cicero, Sergeants Rykowski and Morrision as well as Major Crimes detectives. The "Dead Pool" was apparently discussed at that meting and the ground rules were established. Interestingly enough, for some unknown reason, only White detectives were at the meeting. The only African American detective and the three Hispanic detectives assigned to MCD were not in attendance. 

On Monday, I was made aware of a source that was willing to give me further details regarding the meeting. Wednesday that source backed out and apparently threats were made  that if anyone found out about the meeting and verified it happened that they would apparently suffer the same consequences as Detective Placzek  because they had prior knowledge. At least two other sources told me they were told to "lie" if anyone asked about the meeting, but they did claim that LT Cicero was allegedly involved in the planning process.

It was further related that a high ranking HPD source claims that on pressure from Mayor Bronin and Hartford City Council members, that Placzek's termination is coming.

 So much for the hypocritical Chief who skated after his alleged DUI evading accident this summer with no punishment but Placzek is hung out to dry. WRONG, WRONG, WRONG.

Sunday, December 6, 2020

PLUCKING THE LOW HANGING FRUIT


They say change is never easy, but in the case of the Hartford City Council they have chosen to take the easy way out. In a sharply worded statement Saturday, the Democratic Majority of the Hartford City Council have unanimously voted a former Hartford Police Major Crimes Detective as their scapegoat for the "Dead Pool" mess.

I think that just about everyone with a functioning set of eyes and ears  is capable of realizing that the Hartford Police Department under Chief Jason Thody is a mess and is getting worse daily.

Now the "Dead Pool" matter is bad and the Detective, who I doubt acted on his own, was wrong. I intentionally did not name the detective because I think he is just a minor player and the problem with the culture at HPD is much deeper than just one detective. I think the greater problem is the tone and culture that has been set by Thody, not just during his tenure as Chief, but well before that with his demotion for a drunken bar fight and even most recently with his evading  accident and the lies and coverup that ensued. over what many believe was a DUI incident.

Much of the responsibility, actually all of the responsibility lies with Hartford's Mayor and Washington bound hopeful Luke Bronin. He was warned by many that Thody was a bad fit to run and set the example for HPD, but for some unknown reason, Bronin went ahead and appointed Thody the permanent  Chief. Actually, in all honesty I think many of us know the reason for Thody's survival, and the answer sits across the hall from Bronin's Office.

Like I said at the beginning, the current problems at HPD run very deep.

Mayor Bronin and the Hartford City Council need to open their eyes and go after the real problems and their causes if HPD is going to be salvaged.

Here a couple issues I consider serious. 

Much has been said, and done related to  Minority recruitment to build the numbers at HPD to more reflect the make-up of the community. Under former Chief  James Rovella and also David Rosado, some of the most diverse classes of HPD recruits were hired and put on Hartford's streets. Recruitment without retention is senseless.. Under Thody's tenure those recruits as well as veteran officers are leaving HPD in droves. Many of the estimated 60 plus officers that have left the ranks this year are minorities and females. For veteran officers leaving to start at other Departments, especially . And at least another 50 are contemplating leaving and have requested their training records from the Academy.

It is highly unusual for Officer's to give up prime assignments, like the coveted Traffic Division slots, to leave for suburban towns and start over as the low person on the seniority list But then again we will probably never know the reason for the loss. None of the 60 plus Officer's have received an "Exit Interview", a basic management protocol that would give Thody and HPD and the City of Hartford a much better idea why officers were leaving. But not in Hartford.

There is also a large number of lawsuits coming down the pike, both State and Federal court suits.There seems to be a common thread in the suits, Defendants named AKA  Chief Jason Thody, Assistant Chief Rafael Medina and Lieutenant Paul Cicero. Coincidence or indicators of a greater problem? Since the Mayor and the City Council only want the easy route out, I doubt they really want to look at the problem and identify the reason because it will most likely also blow back on them

The Council was quick to put out their statement on a Saturday night claiming their disgust with a single detective. (the full text of that statement is below) Unless I missed it, I don't recall anything similar after Thody's alleged DUI evading accident. Again its easy to go after the low hanging fruit. Which incident do you think has done more damage to the public trust in HPD?

I doubt very much that there will be much of an investigation into the HPD problems because again, change is difficult  and no one in the Administration is willing to do the heavy lifting and the hard work to actually bring about real reform and accountability at HPD. It is much easier to organize the theatrics and pretend something is being done. 

And as far as the scapegoat, what he did was wrong and should be dealt with to set a tone of accountability, but I doubt he is the only one. Betting on human deaths is disgusting and I can't condone the "Dead Pool" but it is easy for me to post about things I think are improper. Luckily I have never had to deal with the stresses of a Major Crimes Detective. I have never had to stand in a front yard with wailing, sobbing relatives with their loved one laying on the front lawn with a bullet is his skull and his brain matter seeping out onto the sidewalk. And then that same detective has to attend the autopsy as part of their investigation. Watching what is left of the brain, cut out and removed  and weighed along with each internal organ.

This may have been a way for officers to "blow off steam" with some gallows humor, but in absence of a real EAP (employee assistance program) and an officer, or better yet a real counselor, assigned to deal with officer issues, they have to deal how they deal to keep their sanity. Maybe a real Chief who actually comes from the streets would understand that. And not just time out on the street after being hit with a demotion. All of us have had a stressful year dealing with our families and life under Covid. Add on the stresses of death and destruction Police Officers deal with everyday and it gets much worse

And Maybe a Major Crimes Lieutenant who according to sources, ran similar betting pools as far back as his time on the streets as a Conditions Officer might have been sending the wrong message. And unless the Hartford City Council wants to do some real heavy lifting and get to the bottom of the HPD problems ,we may never see change.

Low hanging fruit is easy to pick the real work is much more difficult.

 

Hartford City Council Democrats Find HPD Detectives “Dead Pool” Repugnant and Call for a Division Wide Investigation

Hartford Council Dems Extremely Disappointed by Callous Culture in HPD Major Crimes

Hartford, Connecticut— December 5, 2020   The recent discovery of an HPD Detective’s circulation a sporting pool dubbed a “Dead Pool” which solicited bets on the location of the first Hartford homicide of 2021 is the most recent validation of the Council Democrats long commitment to changing HPD culture.  Recently, the Democrats fashioned a budget which redirected police funding to community sensitivity training; significantly increased the independence and disciplinary powers of the Civilian Police Review Board and is in the process of authorizing the Police Accountability Review Board.  Each of these policies are designed to end the ingrained culture in some officers of superiority to the communities they serve.    

 

“As a longtime supporter of our police, I have to say that gambling on the life and death of Harford residents is not just a breach of this officers oath but a heinous breach of any possible trust and faith our community can and should have in HPD” said said Council President Maly Rosado.  She added “I am speaking to the Chair of the Civilian Police Review Board to ensure that a public and transparent investigation occurs totally independent of HPD.”

 

Council Majority Leader TJ Clarke stated “As we lose more and more young men of color to senseless violence, I cannot fathom the absolute moral void of this man.  He should be forced to go speak to the 22 mothers and fathers who have already lost loved ones to our City’s violence this year.  It’s time to get the Police Accountability Review Board up and running!” 

 

“I am appalled and in disbelief that some members of the HPD could have such cruel disregard of life.  While I support those in HPD that work hard to respectfully serve our city, this behavior undermines any attempts of community and police engagement and I will not support or tolerate anyone who is desensitized to senseless deaths in our community.” commented Councilmen James Sanchez adding that “I am also calling for a parallel investigation by the State’s Attorney’s Office since this despicable conduct has tarnished their office as well.”

 

“It’s sad but too believable that a man whose job it is to solve murders thought the first tragedy of 2021 should be something officers would bet on.  He has no understanding of the deep wounds caused to the families and community every time violent crime visits our streets.” said Councilperson Nick Lebron.

 

Marilyn Rossetti said “I am disturbed, disgusted and downright horrified by the Hartford Police text.  It should not be allowed, tolerated or condoned in any way.  I am prepared, along with my colleagues, to take action in response to this outrageous behavior.  Enough is enough.”

 

Longtime leader in the West Indian community Councilwomen Shirley Surgeon demanded “More accountability, more action, more discipline; that is what the HPD needs.  Enough is enough.  When a cop in charge of murders wants to bet on murders, I, for the first time, feel that this police department can’t be counted on to truly serve and protect the people who look like me.”