When you enter most City of Hartford buildings you should notice the large blue and white signs proclaiming Hartford's policy of "zero Tolerance" for workplace violence , sexual harassment and blah, blah , blah,. The blah , blah , blah part I added as my editorial content, but apparently that is also the policy of the powers to be for the City of Hartford.
The recent complaint filed by Hartford Police Officer Kelly Baerga, an openly gay officer and the Department's liaison to the LGBTQ community. Baerga's claims paint a very troubling scenario of sexual harassment that may exist between at least one supervisor, Sergeant Andrew Rodney and Baerga.
This case does not appear to be a "he said/she said" type allegation but rather has been apparently witnessed by several others including Lieutenant Paul West..
If even 10% of what Baerga claims is accurate, there is no place for anyone like Andrew Rodney to have a leadership or supervisory role at HPD. And let me just say that I have no reason to believe that 100% of her complaint is not accurate and I am not trying to trivialize her claims, I think this is a pattern of behavior by Rodney.
Rodney was also the subject of a blog posting first reported on this blog in January of 2018.Rodney came under scrutiny after he removed an AR-15 assault rifle from a Community gun buyback by meeting the resident in the parking lot and offering her cash to be able to buy the gun for his "personal collection". You can read that post here.
Although, on the face value, Baerga's claim seems to be credible, Sergeant Rodney has also made media comments acknowledging his behavior, further enhancing the credibility of the complaint.
The timeline and the claim of lack of response by HPD's Administration seems to be a little cloudy though, for various reasons. Baerga mentions in her complaint that "on or about May 31, 2018" she spoke to Assistant Chief Ralph Medina to explain the incident. Once that conversation was complete, according to documents obtained by "We the People", Medina immediately transferred Rodney out of recruiting and moved him to the South District in a different supervisory role.
Although Baerga claims that she felt her and Lieutenant West were being punished for filing a sexual harassment complaint the internal time line obtained by WTP appears to disprove that. Documents show that on May 15, 2018 Lieutenant Ian Powell, Deputy Chief Sonya Watson and Deputy Chief Dustin Rendock were all advised Simultaneously by Assistant Chief Medina that Lieutenant West would temporarily be transferred to the South District as the Commander during Lieutenant Powell's absence and that assignment would begin immediately until June 9, 2018.
In and by itself, Rodney's behavior should be troubling enough , and a pretty clear cut violation of the City's and HPD's Harassment and discrimination Policy and makes you wonder when the "zero Tolerance" policy kicks in.
Even more troubling is that Andrew Rodney is an elected official and a member of the Hartford Democratic Town Committee for the 7th District. Where is the outcry from Hartford's Democrats? Is discrimination and harassment against gay employees as long as race is not mixed in?
Sergeant Andrew Rodney on the steps of Hartford City Hall as Mayor Bronin announces his re-election bid
Hartford Democratic Town Committee , 7th District roster
Is it ok to be a member of the DTC as long as you stand behind the incumbent Mayor as he announces his reelection bid and as long as you show your loyalty your behavior doesn't matter. People have been forced to resign for far less than Baerga's allegations documented homophobic behavior, but yet Hartford's political "leaders" are conveniently silent.
Where is Mayor Bronins statement? Where is the 7th District State Rep Joshua Hall? Where is Hartford's Democratic Chairperson Marc DiBella?Where are the other Mayoral candidates? If this were an issue of racial discrimination, every Councilperson and politician would be running for the closest microphone to make their opinions known. Is this issue any less serious or important?:
Andrew Rodney needs to be forced to resign from his DTC position and needs to immediately be removed or terminated from HPD.
I we are going to impose that punishment on the Sgt. Barone's of the world for their behavior, Sgt. Rodney deserves nothing less.