It seems like the hornet's nest at the Hartford Police Department continues to be poked, and plenty of people are willing to talk about it.
Last night a comment was posted by someone who claimed to be a juror in the Rashim Campbell case. I asked them to get in touch with me and tonight they did. Another juror has apparently also posted a comment here on the blog.
It continues to amaze me the following this blog has developed and who is actually reading.
The juror who called had some very interesting information to relay. The two biggest factors in Rashim Campbell's acquittal were that, according to the juror, the Prosecution didn't do their job and that the IAD investigator was not credible.
The juror was very candid and didn't avoid any of the questions I asked. Apparently the feeling was unanimous when they entered the jurors room, but Lieutenant Ford started off on the wrong foot right from the start. Now keep in mind that these jurors really didn't know the facts of the case other than what was presented in the court room. They didn't know the police officers, they didn't know the alleged victim Michael Stewart and they definitely had never heard of IAD Sergeant Rob Ford.
I guess the recently promoted Lieutenant Ford had tried to impress the jurors with his introduction, but that apparently backfired big time. In his introduction, Lt. Ford informed the jurors that he was the newly promoted Lieutenant for the Blue Hills area of the City and proudly told the jurors "If you have any problems in Blue Hills, call me ".
Apparently that was the wrong thing to say. The juror who called me said that almost all of the jurors felt as though they were being offered a bribe by Lt. Ford. They also said that he seemed to need his notes to be able to testify and that raised questions. For whatever reason, they also felt that Ford's promotion might have been a reward for the Campbell investigation.
That one took me by surprise, because keep in mind, the jury had no knowledge of the politics or the players that seem to be coming to the surface recently.
The other part that surprised me, was that the jurors thought the prosecution didn't do their job. Apparently the general consensus was that the facts hadn't been laid out and even the video didn't support the assault allegations and looked more like reasonable force to get the situation under control.
During the conversation I was asked why they would put a new prosecutor in charge of this case. The juror was very surprised to find out that the prosecutor was actually Hartford County States Attorney Gail Hardy and was not a brand new prosecutor.
In the end, it seemed like a pretty clear decision for the jurors and apparently the perceived credibility of Lt. Ford played a large role.A unanimous not guilty verdict was reached in less than an hour.
Another juror posted their thoughts on the trial under the posting "Officer Rashim Campbell...not guilty on all counts"
In the meantime, several police sources are telling me that the calls for an outside investigation into the Hartford Police Department are mounting. Requests are being prepared for investigations into the removal of Lt. Brooks as well as potentially false information fabricated for the Rashim Campbell arrest warrant application as well as potential complaints against Lieutenant Ford.
This can prove to be an interesting situation for Mayor Pedro Segarra and how he approaches these problems in an election year. This one has the potential to blow up into a major problem and seems to be getting worse by the day.
Keep those calls coming.