There is no doubt about it, the last few months, and probably even longer, have been very difficult times for police community relations. At the same time Hartford residents and the Hartford Police Department have been working together to come up with solutions to avoid the next Ferguson or Baltimore here in our own City.
It is a difficult tightrope that Police Chiefs across this country must walk every day knowing they are one step away from the next incident that could ignite a community. It almost seems ironic that at the very same time I am working on this posting, Chief Rovella is in a meeting with several of Hartford's African American leaders to make sure the bridges HPD has built over the years remain strong, and accessible.
But. as the saying goes " one bad apple can spoil the whole bunch". And now it becomes an issue of throwing out the bad apples before they can do any damage. I think, actually no, I hope the picking is swift and decisive in this case to send a strong message to both HPD Officers and Hartford residents that racism within HPD will not be tolerated in any form by anyone.
Recently a Hartford Police Officer, Kamil Stachowitz attended a whisky tasting event at a Connecticut Casino. While there he apparently tasted too much of the whisky. Stachowitz, according to numerous sources within HPD ,created a disturbance at the casino. The Tribal Police were called to apparently remove Stachowitz from the Casino. Also according to sources, an African American Tribal Police Officer responded to the call. Upon confronting Stachowitz, the officer reported that Srtachowitz began yelling the "N" word and went into a racist verbal tirade, yelling at the Officer at one point "My family used to own people like you" and "My Grandfather used to own slaves".
For some reason , no arrest was made, even though the Tribal Police were recently given full powers of arrest by State Statute after the State Police were removed from the Casino's. It may have to do something with Stachowitz identifying himself as a Police Officer, but I think any professional courtesy should have ended once Stachowitz started yelling the "N" word.
Stachowitz, according to sources, is now out on sick leave under the Employee Assistance Program (EAP). Stachowitz has hired an attorney and may be planning on making a claim under the American's With Disabilities Act. Apparently he may be claiming that alcohol dependency or problems with alcohol would alleviate his behavior.
That may be true , but the streets of Hartford are no place for a racist cop. The alcohol helped the words come out, but the mindset already exists for someone that can freely use hateful language like that used by Stachowitz. He needs to go, too much is on the line for Chief Rovella to tolerate such behavior, and I am very confident he will not, EAP leave or not.
I will post the incident report and any video I receive through FOI requests here when it is received.
An Internal Affairs investigation is ongoing within HPD.