Demands for Federal Investigation, Police Chief Change After Deaths of Bridgeport Women

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There are growing calls for the U.S. Department of Justice to get involved in the deaths of two women in Bridgeport.

It’s an action the NAACP already urged earlier this month.

And some now feel the top cop in the city should no longer hold that job.

“I was so upset how we were treated by the Bridgeport Police Department,” said Shantell Fields, the mother of Lauren Smith-Fields.

“I’m grieving, but not properly grieving. I want closure,” said Dorothy Washington, sister of Brenda Lee Rawls.

Family members of Lauren Smith-Fields and Brenda Lee Rawls spoke out at a virtual Police Commission meeting on Tuesday.

“Please accept the board’s condolences,” said Daniel Roach, D – Bridgeport Police Commission.

At the meeting, two city councilwomen called for the removal of the acting police chief, potentially returning her to another police role, and demanded that the U.S. Justice Department take over the investigations into the deaths.

“It’s very disturbing they couldn’t get the right justice with the Bridgeport Police Department,” said Michele Small, D – Bridgeport City Councilwoman.

“I think what we see in the police department is chaos, dysfunction. It’s in shambles,” said Maria Pereira, D – Bridgeport City Councilwoman.

Both women died back on December 12, 2021.

And both of their families feel they were not properly notified and have concerns about how police have handled the investigations.

In a statement, Mayor Joe Ganim wrote in part:

“I am re-affirming my continued commitment to get the answers that they deserve, and so that they may each properly grieve the loss of their valued family member and loved one.”

“We’ve been waiting patiently since this case started and our patience is wearing thin,” said Darnell Crosland, an attorney representing both families.

Two detectives were placed on administrative leave as an internal police probe began.

The Bridgeport Police Union planned to file grievances to restore the officers back to full duty.

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