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Thursday, March 6, 2014


I will answer my own question, I don't think it is or at least won't turn out to be a Police cover up. I am talking about the Sergeant Eric Smith crash last week as a video shows him running from one of his own HPD officers and eventually crashing and severing a light pole. I have every confidence that Hartford Police Chief James Rovella will deal with this promptly upon his return from vacation Monday.

In the mean time, to a casual observer it stinks of a cover up.

And before I get going on this, I first want to apologize for leaving off 2 pages of the Accident report, the PR-1. The document was copied as a double sided document. When I scanned it I only scanned page 1 and 3, pages 2 and 4 were left off. The complete report is below

When I first requested the dash cam video from Officer Stachowitz's cruiser, I wasn't really sure of how they operated or the functions of the unit. After I received an e-mail from Detective Ursula Wiebusch that the video was ready I went and picked it up at HPD.

After getting the video opened and able to view it, the short segment showed the Officer on 91 South at what appeared to be high speed, and the dark colored pickup that appeared to be attempting to elude him at a high rate of speed.

Only after wards did I get a quick lesson as to what the indicators on the screen meant. The longitude and latitude was clear, the speed was also clear as well as the time and date. The "S" that appears on the screen apparently indicates the cruiser siren is on, the "B" that flashes occasionally  indicates that the officer is applying the brakes.

Apparently the dash cam begins recording automatically when the lights or siren are activated or the Officer operating the car can begin recording manually if they see the need to record the event. Due to the way the video ended, I questioned if the Officer may have possibly turned off the recording right before the accident if he might have recognized the vehicle.

I was then informed if that was the case the Officer might be in trouble, because Departmental Orders prohibit an officer from turning the recorder off once it has been activated under Departmental Order 6-21 section B-3. There might also be a slight issue with Officer Stachowitz possibly violating HPD's pursuit policy and potentially causing a crash chasing Smith , especially with the weather. And all of it was caught on video.

I continued to press for additional video and was repeatedly told I had everything. Late yesterday I received an e-mail that  their position was now reversed , there was more video and Detective Wiebusch would provide it  Thursday.

 Late today I was notified that more video was ready. The video clips from the dash cam are all labeled by date and time so it is pretty easy to see if there are gaps or if all of the files were provided. Ironically, the portion of the video that would have shown the impact, the light pole following across Prospect Street and as sources told me previously, Eric Smith exiting his vehicle and staggering to Officer Stachowitz's cruiser are all missing.

A high ranking Supervisor from HPD responded to my persistent questions and FOI complaint this afternoon in an e-mail stating "We are as puzzled as you are about the video shut downs.". The fact that the possibility exists that the dash cam  might have malfunctioned is not reassuring to me as a resident. It should not rest easily with any HPD officer either. What if this were an officer involved shooting and that video would prove their story and their innocence and when questions arose they were told "We are as puzzled as you are about the video shut downs."

Late this afternoon , a source familiar with the investigation said indications are pointing to the Officer possibly turning the recording off once he realized that the accident may quite possibly have been caused by his pursuit of Eric Smith's vehicle..

I think on this one though HPD's Internal Affais Unit is going to have to go above and beyond to convince the General Public that there was no cover up. That will most likely involve determining where Smith was before the chase and crash and what were his activities. If he was actually drinking at Cloud 9 as some sources have alleged, IAD will need to try to get video as well as credit card receipts to lay the foundation. All officers are going to have to be upfront and honest as to their involvement. Video is everywhere to expose any misleading information.

The dash cam may have been shut off, but I would say that most likely the video cameras on the back side of the Main Street Federal Building captured it all

The video would seem to lead a reasonable person to a much different impression of the incident than Officer Stachowicz's and Sergeant O'Connors report indicate. I don't see anywhere the terms, reckless operation , pursuit, alluding, hazardous conditions, or even high speed. The reports are very "vanilla" in their description and far from the factual depiction of what actually happened. Why would the Lieutenant who signed off on Sgt. O'Connors Unusual Report not question who moved the light pole of to the side of the road before CL&P arrived to "render it safe". We are very fortunate we aren't attending the funeral for an electrocuted police officer after these stunts.

 Much more to come on this I am sure.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014


Last week I posted about the latest Eric Smith incident here. As part of that , I filed an FOI Request with the Hartford Police Department for any dash cam from the Officer's car that was attempting to stop Sergeant Smith as he raced South on I-91 at excessive speed, right before he crashed..

Unlike Deputy Chief Foley, who seems to understand the meaning of transparency and public information, there is another gatekeeper for the HPD information vault. Detective Ursula Weibusch is the brick wall between the public and openness at HPD. I figured it was somewhat odd, having dealt with her in the past, to get an e-mail Tuesday that my FOI request was ready to be picked up with everything I had asked for including the video.

I picked up the packet as instructed and reviewed the documents. Interestingly the video showed Sergeant Smith racing down the snow covered road and then cross a few lanes of traffic to quickly exit I-91 onto the Capitol Area exit.. The officer stayed a distance behind Smiths Truck as he exited onto the Prospect Street Exit by Arch Street, The video clearly shows Smith blowing through the intersection and the Red traffic light  at about 35 MPH and make a quick left onto Arch Street.

The video then shows Smith heading South on Prospect in a reckless manner on the snowy and icy street. Toward the end of the video it shows Smith losing control of his vehicle... and then the video suddenly ends. Conveniently apparently right before he crashes into a light pole snapping the pole off and right before it landed across Prospect Street.Conveniently also right before Smith exited his vehicle bleeding and according to sources staggering.

Even though I asked for "any dash cam video" I didn't get it. After several e-mails back and forth and at first being told the video somehow ended abruptly and no more existed, today HPD seemed to backtrack and said there were 3 more segments of video they would be releasing to me tomorrow.

The accident report is also interesting since there was no mention  of the high speed reckless travel of the vehicle before the crash. The only mention by Officer Stachowicz of the events leading up to the crash was "While travelling West on the Conlin Whitehead Highway , I observed a dark colored pick-up truck in front of me also travelling West". No mention of having to pursue the truck from almost Jennings Road just to catch up with it.

Stachowitz writes that Smith was given "a verbal warning for travelling too Fast for Conditions" . No mention of blowing through the Red light, or maybe "left turns on Red" as mentioned in his report are legal after certain hours. Also , no mention of Reckless Driving or Alluding Police.

The unusual incident report also seems to skip over some key questions also. Why was Smith and his vehicle gone before any Supervisor's arrived on the scene to document the incident?  Who mad the decision to move the light pole out of the road before CL&P and Hartford Fire arrived to "make it safe". That could have been deadly to move a live, aluminum light pole.

Here are the reports and the video below, or at least the video that was given to me. The rest will be posted as soon as I get it.

Maybe it is time for Detective Weibusch to make another appearance before the FOI Commission to reinforce the public  right to know.

Monday, March 3, 2014


Mayor Segarra and his partner Charlie Ortiz loading their Home Depot purchases into the City Car Saturday.

In a City where poverty and unemployment run rampant, it is sad that we still have politicians that think City Hall is their pot of gold.

Whether it is the former Chief of Staff who stole his car  to get a few more bucks of use out of the taxpayers or the Acting COO at the time who crashed her car or maybe the current Chief of Staff who has no intention of living in Hartford.

But I guess the old saying that leadership begins at the top is really true, and if there is no leadership or example coming from the top, what should we expect?

You might recall that after the boyfriend/fiancee/significant other, now Acting Assistant Fire Chief, of Acting COO Saundra Kee-Borges crashed her City car, the City Council apparently passed a resolution restricting the use of City vehicles to the Mayor, Police Chief and Fire Chief for City business and certain others bound by contracts. The City of Hartford Ethics Code is also pretty clear that City Resources are to be used for city business only, not personal use.

The last I knew, Mayor Segarra is being paid over $150,000 per year, is it too much to expect him to use his own car and his own gas when he makes his Saturday run to Home Depot with his partner?

The picture above of Mayor Segarra and his partner loading their purchases into his City car at the West Hartford Home Depot sure doesn't look like City business.

 I guess "don't do as I do, do as I say" is a good enough example for the rest of the City workers.


I am a candidate for the Hartford Democratic Town committee  and running in a primary election tomorrow It is very frustrating for several reasons, many of them discussed in the video below of today's "We the People" program.

It is a campaign where the opposition slate will be a return to the past and Town Committee "leadership" if you could even call it that. that had led to political corruption that eventually resulted in a Grand Jury Investigation and the arrests of several Hartford politicians. Instead of retyping all of it, the video says it all.

If you are a Hartford resident and live in the 7th District ( Doug McCrory is your State Rep. if you do) take a few minutes tomorrow to vote for Row C

Thank you.


The City of Hartford was served with a summons for a Civil Lawsuit  by a State Marshall last Thursday. The suit was brought by Council President Shawn Wooden's Administrative Assistant Janice Flemming.The suit stems from Flemming's arrest after an alleged altercation in Blue Hills.

An interesting twist is that Donna Thompson-Daniels is also named as a defendant in the suit. Flemming claims that Daniels made false statements that led to her arrest and lied to the Prosecuting Attorney at the Hartford Court.

Daniels is a candidate for the Hartford Democratic Town Committee in the primary being held tomorrow

The suit is below.

 This suit will most likely present several  interesting issues that Councilman Wooden will have to address. First is Flemming's position as his administrative assistant. Since all settlements over a certain dollar amount must be passed by the Council,  would  Flemming now be in a position to review correspondence from the Corporation Counsel that might be sent to Wooden related to any settlement or legal strategy. Could that information then be used by Flemming to benefit her position on her lawsuit?

Also, I know you go for the person with the deep pockets. In this case it would appear to be the City of Harrtford and HPD. If the plaintiff, Flemming, in this case knows that Daniels allegedly lied to the police. It would appear that the police officer acted in good faith based on the circumstances of the case.

 If Daniels did in fact lie, and in the absence of other witnesses, the officer arrested Flemming based on the facts laid out to him, what else is supposed to happen. No video no witnesses, just Daniels claims to the officer. It happens every day when arrests are made. Police Officers are human and make similar decisions everyday, very few arrests are absolute.

I guess we will see as the suit moves forward. Never a dull moment in Hartford.


I, like most people,, hate Robo Calls. They are even more annoying though during dinner time.

Tonight i got one that was actually quite gratifying, and yes, during dinner time.

It was actually one of my opponents from another Hartford Democratic Town Committee slate challenging us in tomorrow's Democratic Town Committee Primary. Now for a group that has said they represent their neighbor's, I am not quite sure why Robo Calls are necessary. Shouldn't you be able to go out and interact with your neighbors rather than annoying them with computer generated phone calls?

But anyway, the gratifying part is when the ROBO CAll from Donna Daniels had a meltdown. I think they call that Karma, listen below