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Friday, April 29, 2011


If you read the blog regularly, you'll remember that a while back I asked the question "Who is Willie Edwards?.

Well, you have waited long enough and here is your answer.

Willie Edwards is a City of Hartford employee assigned to the Department of Public Works.On Saturday October 14, 2010, Willie was assigned to the DPW Transfer Station to supervise people dumping refuse and brush. AlthoughWillie appeared to be doing his job, he ran into a problem when he would not allow Charlie Ortiz to dump at the transfer station. Charlie Ortiz is the husband of Mayor Pedro Segarra. In the document below the "Description of Claim" clearly spells out the allegations that will result in yet another lawsuit against the City of Hartford

In the claim you will see that there is mention of an "investigation", I have asked DPW Director Kevin Burnham for that report, both by e-mail and in person. That report has not been provided to me as of yet."Willie Edwards Intent to File Suit

Thursday, April 28, 2011


Since posting the Lt. Brooks information yesterday, over 2,302 hits were recorded on the blog for a 24 hour period, the best numbers yet since I started the blog.

Thanks for your support


In yesterday's posting regarding the video of the Pawtucket Street shooting, I need to make a correction.

Several sources familiar with the investigation called or contacted me to let me know that my perception of what happened was wrong. In watching the video, I thought that a shot was actually fired from inside the car through the rear passenger window.

Apparently the suspects (or victims, depending on how you look at it) never fired any shots. Any shots fired were fired by Police Officers outside of the car. Although a gun was recovered from inside the car, it was never fired.

One source close to the investigation also stated that with the heavy tints on the cars window, they felt it would have been difficult for anyone outside of the vehicle to actually see anyone pointing a gun at them as one officer was heard saying on the video.

In looking at the video again, I think we are very lucky no police officers were shot by each other. If the shot was fired by a police officer, as I was told, from outside the vehicle, they would have been on the sidewalk and officers were approaching from both directions.

This video should be used by every Police agency in the country to show how things should NOT be done.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011


For anyone that follows the blog and the hit counter, "We the People" has surpassed a quarter of a million hits. Today is shaping up to be one of the better days as far as numbers. Between 4:00PM when I posted the item about Neville Brooks "You Can't Handle the Truth" and now, there has been almost a thousand hits. The next closest days were when I posted and predicted Eddie Perez's first arrest would take place the following day and all of Dan Nolan's pieces produced heavy blog traffic.

Keep the comments and information coming, none of this would be possible without you. Change is definitely taking place by shining light on what is happening in our City.


The old saying "do as I say, not as I do" seems like it may be the rule of thumb for some operating out of the Chief's Complex at 50 Jennings Road.

If the previous posting about Lt. Brooks and his removal from IAD when he had the nerve to question Chiefs as part of investigations wasn't enough, this accident report should raise some red flags also.

Let me start by asking a hypothetical question, actually a couple of questions.

Would you think it would be unusual for someone to have a couple thousand dollars worth of damage done to their car and not notice it? Especially if that damage was down the drivers side of your car, maybe a couple inches under the lock and door handle and ran almost the full length of the vehicle?

Another question, if you had a company car provided to you by your employer and that vehicle was clearly involved in an accident, would your employer accept that you didn't know what happened , yet you refused to answer questions or co-operate with a police officer assigned to investigate the accident?

Ok, one last hypothetical question. If you were a police officer and at the end of your shift, showed up at the station with damage to your cruiser that you claimed you didn't know how it happened and then refused to answer any questions about the crash or the damage, do you think that would go over without any problem?

I seriously doubt anyone would answer yes to those questions and think it would all be acceptable.

Although if you are Hartford Police Department Assistant Chief Lester McKoy, rest assured, it all will be fine.The vehicle damaged is McKoy's city vehicle that we, yes we the taxpayers of Hartford, have provided to McKoy for his daily commute back and forth to his home in Stamford . I have spoke about this extreme waste of money on numerous occasions only to be met by blank stares from Council members and even the Mayor himself.

For McKoy to think he is above answering questions of a police officer investigating his accident and possible evading goes to show the sense of entitlement apparent by the Command Staff at HPD. Chief Roberts needs to set the tone that discipline and respect is the same no matter who you are from a Cadet up to the Chief himself.

Over the next few weeks I'll be writing more on the varying degrees of discipline at the Hartford Police Department depending on who you are and who you know. How can one person be possibly demoted for his actions, while another is promoted after having alcohol related accidents in a City vehicle?


HPD- McKoy Accident Report


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.

Sunday, April 24, 2011


In what seems to be the precursor to a summer of violence on Hartford's streets, homicide victim number 12 for the year was pronounced dead at Saint Francis Hospital at 9:30pm this evening.

The 29 year old victim was shot a short time earlier in the area of 38 Martin Street


In July of 2009 I wrote here about Hartford Fire Lieutenant Gregory Simon and his arrest for allegedly stealing electricity at a rental property he apparently owned. Lt. Simon was also a licensed electrician and had apparently rigged the electric meter to bypass it and steal electricity.

Now Simon is apparently in trouble once again. According to both fire and police department sources, Simon was arrested on April 22, 2011 at 1:02am on various charges including weapons in a motor vehicle, strangulation, assault and breach of peace.

According to HPD arrest logs, Simon was not released and was being held on $250,000 bond.


I am still trying to make sense of actions by the City of Hartford in relation to the Dan Nolan termination. One of the main questions is how and why did it happen in the first place? Who in their right mind could fault someone for encouraging young adults entering into a career of public safety to become involved in charitable events?

I think the hearing officers report was pretty clear that the actions by the City of Hartford were not appropriate when he ordered Nolan re-instated with all back pay, benefits and seniority. That leads me to the next big question. Why is the City dragging its feet when it comes to getting Nolan back to work?

The clock has almost expired on the 30 day period that the City had to decide whether to bring Chief Nolan back or appeal the hearing officers decision. The report seemed pretty clear. There was no question what so ever as to Nolan's truthfulness or character. Even the City's witnesses seem to have been better witnesses in Nolan's favor.

But more interesting is the video below. On February 11, 2011 the Worcester Massachusetts Fire Department graduated their most recent recruit class of new firefighters. During the ceremony, a Lieutenant assigned to the Fire Academy speaks about efforts to get recruits involved in charity events and their efforts. He talks about raising funds for scholarships, collecting turkeys to donate to the Salvation Army and even chipping in to buy a piece of equipment for the Training Academy.

Clearly, if we go by the standard used in the Nolan case, this Lieutenant should be fired immediately.

Some of the layers are being peeled back though to shed light on the real reasons for Nolan's termination. It's a very interesting story involving a former Fire Chief, a corrupt Mayor, a City Councilwoman, a strip bar in Springfield, a Doctor specializing in Lasik surgery and his checkbook and don't forget to throw in a Union President to complete the picture.

Watch the video below, I left the bagpipes in at the beginning because I love hearing them, but the good part starts at about 3:20 minutes in.


Sometimes I think that Hartford is its own worst enemy. We can study issues to death, fund all types of non-profits that are supposed to be addressing issues even though very little changes, yet we seem to be unable to find the missing part of the puzzle.

My mother had wanted to visit O'Rourke's Diner in Middletown for breakfast today. She had read about the diner in Yankee Magazine and seen profiles of O'Rourke's on various TV programs. I wasn't sure that we would even be able to get in on Easter Sunday, but we gave it a shot. After a short wait we had breakfast, even though I think my Irish Soda Bread has theirs beat handsdown.

During breakfast my mother told me that in all the years she had lived in Connecticut, she had never been to Middletown. After we finished we drove around Downtown Middletown. I was surprised by the vibrancy of Main Street in Middletown compared to Downtown Hartford. I didn't see rows of vacant storefronts. What I did see were retail shops and numerous restaurants that were open and seemed busy.

There was a waiting line to get into O'Rourke's and it seemed like most restaurants along Main Street were having the same problem. Wouldn't that be a wonderful problem for downtown Hartford to have on a Sunday?

We went by the First and Last Tavern which is housed on the groundfloor of the Middletown Police Department's relatively new building. That obviously took some leadership and foresight for someone to decide to offset the operations costs of the PD by incorporating retail and rental space into the construction of a Municipal building.

I was asking myself what Middletown was doing that Hartford wasn't. For anyone that remembers Hartford in its heyday, our downtown was vibrant and thriving. The streets were busy not only at noon time, but through out the evening and on weekends. Today Hartford is like a ghost town after the corporate world bails out.

One of the big differences I saw in Middletown was abundant parking and most of it was free at the time. Another big factor I'm sure is Middletown's tax rate, 26.4 mills compared to Hartford's rate of almost 74 mills. Downtown businesses in Middletown also pay a 5.5 mills "Fire District" tax, compared to Hartford's 15% surcharge on all businesses across the city. Hartford's downtown businesses also pay a Business Improvement District tax of an additional mill.

It just seems that rather than spend potentially upwards of $5 million dollars on taking the Capitol West building, it might make a lot more sense investing in business development in Downtown Hartford. A vibrant, growing downtown will snowball into small businesses seeing that Hartford has potential, one new business at a time.

More business closures such as the cutlery shop and the cigar shop that recently closed on Asylum Street send the reverse message that small business isn't sustainable in Hartford for tax reasons, lack of traffic, lack of interest, lack of City support or whatever excuse you want to use.

Try explaining to a potential business person why most of the north side of Pratt Street is vacant, a street so quaint with it's brick walkways and lightposts that would be bustling in just about any other town. Try explaining why the Bank of America building on Main Street is vacant. A building that is probably one of the largest buildings on Main Street.

Try explaining why the XL Center shops are still virtually vacant several years after construction was completed. The only exception being a wine shop that if the truth were known, probably was just as well off at their previous location before being lured downtown and a grocery store that seems to have more employees than customers.

I would love to see the Market at Hartford 21 thrive and survive, but it takes feet on the street to do that, seven days a week. Spiritus Wines always has a great selection as well as knowledgeable staff, but again, sales are what matters and you need a steady flow of customers and convenient parking to make that happen.

We can't afford any more vacancies downtown. When was the last time anyone can recall a McDonald's closing its doors, yet the one in downtown did a couple years ago.

I spoke with a State Representative today and during the conversation I brought up the idea that I posted a few weeks ago about the old Capewell Nail Factory and turning it into an outlet mall. He thought it was a great idea and could maybe even get some state support. We talked about the numbers of people that think nothing of driving to Clinton or even to Maine to get the deals available at the outlets.

Why shouldn't that be Hartford? The answer is quite simple. The lack of leadership and the will to get things done. It is the same thing that is keeping Front Street vacant, the XL center vacant most of Pratt Street vacant and so on.

Imagine one of the vacant lots surrounding downtown Hartford, such as the parcel Channel 3 was going to use before they were driven out of Hartford by the Perez Administration, and build something like a 5 Guys Restaurant. Other businesses would grow off of that. Vacant lots attract nothing, other than crime and more blight, even if we put up pretty fences around them like the former "butt ugly" sight.

If we are going to be serious about economic development, then let's take it seriously. Having no permanent Director of Economic Development for a couple years shows that we are not serious. Instead we have the Chief Operating Officer doubling as the Economic Development Director in a Department that clearly shows it doesn't understand the meaning of economic development.

If other towns are able to develop and maintain vibrant economic areas, then we can't continue to blame it on the economy. Let's look at Buckland Hills, Westfarms and even smaller towns like Enfield and Middletown. What are they doing right?

I think the answer is pretty clear, we have a great foundation to build on here, the only thing missing is leadership to get it done.


The Greater Hartford African American Alliance held its annual breakfast Saturday morning at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Hartford. The event was well attended by almost 200 people and featured an awards ceremony and a Mayoral candidates panel question and answer segment.

Connecticut's US Senator Richard Blumenthal made a short appearance also.

The introductions of the four Mayoral hopefuls can be seen below. Mayor Segarra's first few seconds was cut out on the video and the angles aren't the best, but the audio is clear so you can hopefully learn a little bit more about the candidates. The interviewers for the QandA segment were Len Besthoff from WFSB 3, Robert Cotto from the Board of Education and Rufus Wells from the Minority Construction Council.