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State Police Won't Release Internal Investigation Findings

Troopers allegedly discussed making up charges as a camera recorded their voices. (Hans/Pixabay)
Troopers allegedly discussed making up charges as a camera recorded their voices. (Hans/Pixabay)
August 17, 2017

HARTFORD, Conn. -- Connecticut State Police are refusing media requests for copies of documents from internal investigations of a trooper and two sergeants accused of fabricating charges.

The investigation centered on the 2015 arrest of an East Hartford man who was recording the encounter on his camera. The officers confiscated the camera, which was still recording as they allegedly discussed making up criminal charges that were later dismissed.

Media outlets have requested the documents to determine if the officers have been disciplined. According to Dan Barrett, legal director at the ACLU of Connecticut, that information should be accessible to the public.

"We the taxpayers have a right to see how government employees are doing their job,” Barrett said; "and also to see how the government supervises its employees."

The Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection said without the consent of the troopers, records in personnel files cannot be revealed unless ordered by the Freedom of Information Commission.

Barrett said he disagrees.

"Connecticut's open-records law makes it very difficult, if not impossible, for a public employee to claim that the way they perform their on-the-job duties created personal embarrassment,” he argued.

He added that in 2013, the Freedom of Information Commission ruled in another case that internal affairs reports and complaints against police officers must be disclosed.

Barrett noted that there are times when access to records of public employees can and should be denied.

"For example, people who get services from the government related to health care, well, the government has records of their treatment, of their health conditions. That kind of stuff truly implicates personal privacy,” Barrett said.

The ACLU is representing the man charged by police in his lawsuit against the three officers. More information is available at ACLU.org.

Andrea Sears, Public News Service - CT