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Friday, June 9, 2017


FROM :Sgt. John Szewczyk
President, Hartford Police Union

June 9, 2017

This statement is a formal response to the negative comments made against members of the Hartford Police Department by State Representative Minnie Gonzalez on the floor of the House Representatives at the State Capitol on June 5, 2017.

I would like to start by recognizing the amazing work done by the hardworking members of the Hartford Police Department.  Every day the men and women of the Hartford Police Department serve our capital city with honor and distinction. Despite this fact, Representative Gonzalez made a conscious decision to publicly ridicule, demean, and resort to nasty name calling on the floor of the CT State House of Representatives by referring to Hartford Police Officers as “cowboys who shoot young kids”.  She also made totally false and inaccurate statements such as Hartford Police Officers receive paid lunches and dinners.

Members of the Hartford Police Department have positive and meaningful relationships with the community.  Representative Gonzalez has attempted to drive a wedge between the members of the Hartford Police Department and the residents of Hartford.  However, she cannot and will not break our bond and loyalty to the community we serve. We will continue to build these positive relationships with the residents of Hartford regardless of her actions.  

I would also like to recognize the families of the Hartford Police Officers who provide tremendous support to their loved ones. These family members are the true backbone of support for our police officers.  They are forced to endure the good and the bad that our officers experience on a daily basis and yet continue to provide the support we need.

Thank you to the many members of the public who have reached out to me and other members of our police department offering their support and praise for our work.  This includes numerous state and local elected officials, from both sides of the political aisle, and most importantly numerous residents of Hartford, including those in the 3 rd  District that Representative Gonzalez represents.  They have all been thoroughly supportive and have either contacted me personally or made public comments through social media denouncing Representative Gonzalez’s unprofessional and undignified actions.

Lastly, I would like to offer Representative Gonzalez the opportunity to spend time with the amazing men and women of the Hartford Police Department.  Whether you visit the police station, speak with officers in the community, or participate in a ride-along, spending time with our officers may help you understand and recognize first-hand the positive relationships that our officers have with the community. 


On March 11, 2017, at approximately 7:01pm, HPD patrol officers responded to the area of 2621 Main Street in response to a report of an armed robbery and carjacking. The victim reported that he had arranged to meet with an unknown individual to purchase an i-Phone solicited on the on-line internet site "Offer Up.".

 The victim was approached by three suspects, one of which produced a firearm. The armed suspect struck the victim with the firearm and took possession of various personal items, money, and the victims vehicle. The victim received emergency medical care on scene for a head injury. Further investigation of the incident was later assigned to Major Crimes Division Detectives. HPD Detectives were able to develop probable cause to charge a suspect, Raekwon Gaines, in connection to the incident.

 An arrest warrant was drafted, and later approved by a Superior Court Judge, charging Gaines with Robbery 1st Degree, Conspiracy Robbery 1st Degree, Larceny 2nd Degree, Conspiracy Larceny 2nd Degree, and Conspiracy Larceny 3rd Degree. Members of the HPD/U.S. Marshals Violent Fugitive Task Force began actively investigating and attempting to locate Raekwon Gaines.

 On June 7, 2017, intelligence was received that Gaines was present at 17 Barbour Street, Hartford, CT. A surveillance operation was conducted by HPD Detectives and USDM Perreault that subsequently led to the safe apprehension of Gaines without injury or incident. Raekwon Gaines was transported to the Major Crimes Division for debrief then booked and processed for the aforementioned charges.

Gaines is currently being held on a $500,000 bond. Arrested: Raekwon Gaines (dob 5/24/96) of 17 Barbour Street, Hartford, CT Charges: Robbery 1st Degree, Conspiracy Robbery 1st Degree, Larceny 2nd Degree, Conspiracy Larceny 2nd Degree, and Conspiracy Larceny 3rd Degree These on-line transactions like “Offer-Up” and “Craigslist” continue to be a problem for HPD.

 Please, if you are using one of these sites for a transaction, conduct the transaction in the safe HPD parking lot.

Thursday, June 8, 2017


I received this e-mail today from the wife of a Hartford Police Officer, condemning the ignorant remarks of Hartford's 3rd District State Representative Minnie Gonzalez. Gonzalez made her remarks before the Legislature's General Assembly regarding a Police Accountability bill.

This e-mail lays out the facts quite clearly. Just for the record, the officer's wife did identify herself by name in the e-mail. I chose not to identify her since I haven't spoke with her

I am the proud wife of a Hartford Police Officer and Air Force Veteran. The men and women of the Hartford Police Department are some of the finest people I know, and have more integrity than you could ever wish to  have. They serve their communities with pride, dedication, and distinction. These officers put their lives on the line every single day, for little pay, little recognition, and with very little support from elected politicians. These men and women go into their neighborhoods every day truly trying to make a difference, something you know nothing about.

The comments made by you on June 5, 2017 in defense of bill HB6663 were appalling, ignorant, and unnecessary. while you stated that you support the HPD and its officers, your statements were a direct contradiction to that. Let me address them one by one.

You stated that the officers were cowboys with guns, and bats. I'm not sure I have ever seen them wear cowboy hats or boots to work, I have seen officers on horseback, however they were not herding cattle. I have seen my husband come home with blood on his boots and tears in his eyes as he has faced some of the most horrific acts humans can do to one another. I've watched him on phone calls with other officers, consoling them as they attempted to come to terms with the suicide call, or child abuse case, or the senseless murders that occur all too frequently.

You stated that there are good and bad cops, you are correct. There are far more good ones than bad, which is more than I can say for politicians. The vast majority of police officers joined the force to do good, to make a change, and to be positive influences in their communities.

You stated that HPD officers have good pay, good benefits, and a good pension. What you fail to mention is that their good pay comes from countless hours of overtime, or road jobs (which are not paid for by the city, and the city actually makes money off of,) you fail to mention the missed birthdays, holidays, anniversaries, and special occasions they have missed in order to protect your ignorance. From my understanding, you get paid a hefty stipend for being an elected official, receive benefits, and will receive a pension.

You stated that "you" pay for the officers lunch and dinner. I'm not sure how you determined that, as I send my husband with his meals daily, while he works his 16 hour shifts. He frequently comes home with his meals still in his bag, as they do not get a lunch break, and is often lucky if he can even get a bite in between calls.

You stated that these "cowboys" are killing young kids in our community with no consequences, and this abuse needs to stop. Since 2005 there have been 20 Officer Involved Shootings according to HPD data. That's one shooting every 219 days by an officer. Considering the amount of public interaction, and the calls for service this equates to a less than 1% chance of being shot by a police officer in Hartford. The last time a person was killed by a police officer in Hartford was in 2013, a whole 4 years ago, and it was entirely justified. Again, your ignorance is glaring, and your abuse of police officers needs to be stopped.

You stated that you pass laws frequently to protect, and train police officers. The training is mandated by the State of CT, and you have done nothing to indemnify, or protect officers of your community. In fact, based on your history, I am not even sure how you can remain in office. Your family has been called a "crime syndicate." You have been found guilty of elections violations, you have the "Minnie Gonzalez Little League", which receives over $75,000 a year in tax payer money, and is managed by your husband. In fact it seems as if you have a significant conflict of interest in presenting or debating any type of law enforcement bill, as taking power away from the police directly benefits you and your family.

It is very easy to sit in your safe office and make ignorant, untrue statements towards our officers. They need your support not your condemnation. You lack integrity, honesty, and decency. You should take a ride along with a Hartford Police Officer on a Saturday night during the summer, and see what they are exposed to. Have you ever taken simulation training?  I'm sure you would not make accurate split second decisions that you expect from our officers. You truly should be ashamed of your statements against HPD and in fact should issue a very public apology for condemning them in the way you did.

Here is the link to your inaccurate, cowardly statements, to refresh your memory.

Wednesday, June 7, 2017


I remember years ago there was a bumper sticker "WHO NEEDS POLICE?...EVERYONE"

I don't think  that could ever be truer than it is today, but we seem to be losing sight of that.

Yesterday, Connecticut's House of Representatives debated a bill aimed at Police Brutality.

 Abusive officers can not be tolerated,and theHartford Police has done a pretty good job of dealing with the issue  but Representative Gonzalez of Hartford seemed to paint Law Enforcement Officers with a pretty wide brush yesterday. Gonzalez also seemed to not have a problem with incorrect information during her rant. Despite her comments, Hartford Police Officers do not get free meals or get their meals paid for as part of their lucrative benefits. And they don't carry "bats".

The Connecticut State Police do get a meal allowance, but that is as a result of a Collective Bargaining agreement approved by the same Legislative body that Representative Gonzalez is a member of.

 Although Gonzalez portrays the men and women of Law Enforcement as "Cowboys" with "Bats and Guns".  ( I think she probably meant badges and guns, but I'm sure for her performance, cops with bats probably fit her image better)

The other three videos below are just an example of what Police Officers in Hartford and across our Country face every day as they work to protect us.

The officers in these videos exhibit great restraint and professionalism as they deal with unruly parties. Listen to the anguish in the officers voice as he tries to talk a gunman down before he had to shoot him to protect his and others lives. Watch the Philadelphia Officer as he puts up with the rant and behavior of a drunk or impaired TV reporter. I doubt many of us mere mortals could show the restraint  this officer did. At the very least she should have received a face full of pepper spray or a Taser dart .

The last video has some pretty poor police tactics as a suspect pulls a gun from his waistband and opens fire on the officers , as they talked to him the entire time before the shooting and treated him with respect. I think it shows the human side and how bad things can go bad with our officers. There clearly is only instinct and survival mode as these incidents unwrap very quickly.

And yes, they are still humans doing a tough job.

This type of behavior is more the rule than the exception.

 Representative Gonzalez and her fellow critics need to get out of the confines of their Sanctuary at the Capitol and get in touch with what goes on on our streets.