For anyone that remembers that classic line uttered by Jack Nicholson in "A Few Good Men", it came after investigators got a little too close to the truth.
The same refrain might quite possibly be echoing through the second floor Chief's complex at the Hartford Police Department. Through police sources and documents obtained, it appears that the Commander of the Hartford Police Departments Internal Affairs Division has been removed from his position. Lieutenant Neville Brooks, a 17 year veteran of the Department,was removed as Commander of IAD and escorted out of the offices at HPD on April 15, 2011.
According to sources and a Union grievance filed with Chief Roberts on April 26, 2011, Lt. Brooks' was removed from IAD due to investigations that required interviews of Assistant Chief's and at least one Deputy Chief. Apparently it is an unwritten rule that Command Staff are usually "off-limits" when it comes to interviews for investigations. One source told me that the last time anyone could remember an "official" interview of an Assistant Chief was Micheal Fallon several years ago.
The Union Grievance claims that Lt. Brooks was removed "due to the fact that he had been disrespectful to command personnel in the conducting of a number of investigations". The full grievance is below.
Hpd Union Grievance-LT. Brooks
According to sources, in one instance Assistant Chief Brian Heavren appears to have been less than truthful with IAD investigators regarding a claim made by a detective of a "hostile work environment". In that case which involved a Detective and a Sergeant "photoshopped" pictures were being circulated of a less than flattering nature. Chief Heavren claimed that he had no knowledge of the allegations and had never seen the photo in question.
IAD investigators were able to confirm that the e-mail was sent to Heavren and was opened. From what sources are telling me, the photo in question was actually found on the hard drive of Chief Heavren's office computer. When investigators interviewed Heavren, they invoked his "Garrity" rights and he apparently became indignant that he was being questioned.
In another incident, Assistant Chief John Horvath became involved with rumors that a Detective might be "hanging out with the wrong crowd". There were also accusations of drug use on the part of the Detective. Rather than proceed through proper channels, Horvath, according to sources, intervened and accusations against the Detective became common knowledge and that Detective has hired an attorney and most likely will be suing the department for apparent damage to his professional reputation. He will apparently join a growing list of members of the Department now suing the Department's Administration
The detective accused of drug use was not asked by the Department to take a drug test, even though he volunteered to do such according to sources. From what sources told me, the Detective contacted his own doctor and through Quest Labs paid for more than one test on several occasions, all of which apparently came back negative for drug use.
Horvath apparently took the same stance as Heavren and was indignant that he would be questioned by IAD investigators as to his actions.
The third incident apparently involves recently promoted Deputy Chief Scott Sansom. According to sources, Sansom's interview was over an ongoing investigation into procedural issues over a police involved shooting on Pawtucket Street in Hartford on December 15, 2008. I'm not quite sure why that is still going on over two years after the incident, but apparently Chief Sansom was not happy about being questioned .
The incident apparently occurred under the watchful eye of a video camera and was all documented. It seems that a videographer for a documentary was riding with Hartford Police and US Marshalls that day and the entire incident was caught on video. Apparently, the shooting was found to be justified but the issue was with the procedures used by the officers.
Plain clothes Officers in unmarked vehicles were responding to Pawtucket Street in regards to information that the suspect vehicle had weapons inside it. As they quickly pulled up on the suspects, no one seems to identify themselves as police officers or were readily identified as police officers. In the video, it appears that the back seat passenger is the first to fire a shot through the passenger side window, then officers returned fire.
During this entire time on the video it doesn't seem that anyone identified themselves as police officers and and after the shooting stops a voice can be heard, presumably one of the officers, stating "guy pointed a gun at me yo".
The 14 minute raw video can be seen below, the first time it was posted on "You tube" it was suddenly removed. I would watch it soon if you wish, chances are it won't be up there long. It is graphic so if the sight of blood bothers you, be advised.
I can see why someone would not want to answer questions about the procedural issues raised in the video, but clearly questions need to be asked and answered to identify problems.It might be good for a cop show, but could have proven deadly for police officers. As you can see, no marked police cruisers were present, even though the vehicle was parked and not moving, even as the officers approached.
Although I can't understand Chief Roberts decision to move Lt.Brooks, other actions taken since his removal also seem to show the vindictiveness of the actions. In a memo issued last week, Headquarters Captain William Long stated that he was being ordered by Assistant Chief Brian Heavren to also remove Lieutenant Brooks as the supervisor of the Hartford Police Bicyle Patrol program.
Lt. Brooks has hired an attorney to protect his interests. One Union official commented that Lt. Brooks is the type of investigator that any police officer would want in IAD. According to the Union official, Brooks was known for his integrity and objectiveness. The Union official said "if you needed to be investigated, Neville is the type of person you'd want". He claims that Brooks has no agenda and can't be influenced, the facts go where they go.
I guess unless the facts lead to the Chief's Complex.
I'll be posting a little more later about the apparent sense of entitlement coming out of the second floor at HPD.
Assistant Chief Horvath claims he was unaware of the grievance filed and when asked if he wished to comment on his actions in Lt. Brooks' removal, he replied "absolutely not". Assistant Chief Heavren and Deputy Chief Sansom have not returned calls for comment.
And just in a matter of full disclosure, Lt Brooks and myself have known each other almost our entire lives. We attended elementary school together and have remained friends right up until this time. Neville is one of the few people I know that I can honestly say is beyond reproach, and I don't say that lightly. I could probably count on one hand the number of people I would feel comfortable saying that about.