federal investigation

Bridgeport Police Union to File Grievances to Restore Suspended Officers Back to Full Duty

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The Bridgeport Police Union says they're planning to file grievances to restore the two recently suspended officers back to full duty amid an investigation into the handling of two deaths.

This comes days after two detectives were placed on administrative leave pending an internal police probe.

Questions into the deaths of Lauren Smith-Fields and Brenda Lee Rawls, and the police department's handling of their cases, have swirled in recent weeks.

“It’s regrettable the city has chosen to blame the police. We caution against a rush to judgement until we have all the facts surrounding this case. We will file grievances over the placement of Detectives Llanos and Cronin on administrative leave to restore them back to full duty status," Police Union President Sgt. Brad Seely said in a statement.

Seely said the police union expects the labor relations process can "lead to a positive resolution of everybody's concerns over the response to a tragic incident."

"The Bridgeport police union extends our deepest sympathy and sorrow to the families and friends of Lauren Smith-Fields and Brenda Rawls, whose untimely deaths have brought unimaginable pain," Seely said.

NAACP Calls For Federal Investigation

The NAACP is calling for a federal investigation into the Bridgeport Police Department.

The group's president said the department needs to gain trust and respect after the way it handed the deaths of Smith-Fields and Rawls.

Both were found dead on the same day last month, but their families claim police never told them.

The families of Lauren Smith Fields and Brenda Rawls want answers from Bridgeport police about how the deaths of the two women have been handled so far.

"The lack of sensitivity is in each case, to the family and their friends, and the lack of professionalism is in conducting policies and procedures. It's apparent disregard for the civil rights of these Black women and a gross disservice to their families," said Rev D. Stanley Lord.

"The handling of their deaths by the police, in the relative lack of public awareness of their cases, was ridiculous," said William McCullough.

Two police detectives are on leave after the mishandling of two deaths. Both Lauren Smith-Fields and Brenda Rawls died on December 12. Both families expressed they were deeply unhappy with how their cases and family member were treated.

Bridgeport Police provided a response to NBC Connecticut about the NAACP's statements.

"The Bridgeport Police Department serves its residents and all members of our community regardless of race, ethnicity, gender or religion. Members of the Bridgeport Police Department are hired and promoted based upon a competitive Civil Service exam process."

The police department said they have plans to create a victim's advocate program to better organize how the department notifies families of people who have died.

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