NAUGATUCK, CT (WFSB) – Multiple investigations are underway after racist and violent social media messages have surfaced that were allegedly written by the police chief’s daughter.
The mayor says the comments were made two years ago and were brought to his attention on Friday.
Three investigations are underway and one of the first things they’re going to try to do is to determine if the messages are truly the words of the police chief’s teenage daughter.
One of the posts said, “I’ll make my dad drive with lights and sirens and if we see any black people we will shoot them.”
Another post said, “My dad is now officially police chief so that means he’s more advanced in shooting black people then [sic] he just was a couple minutes ago.”
Those are just two of the six messages that popped up on social media Friday afternoon.
Naugatuck’s mayor confirms the posts contain images of Police Chief Steven Hunt’s daughter.
“We condemn all acts of racism and bigotry in any form, at all times,” said Mayor Warren Hess.
Naugatuck Mayor Warren Hess, alongside the Police Commission Chairman Ralph Roper Jr., and Deputy Chief of Police Colin McAllister, announced three investigations into the posts.
An independent investigation, and internal investigation, and one from the Board of Education will all take place. The one involving the Board of Education will happen because Chief Hunt’s wife is the assistant principal at Naugatuck High School.
“The pictures and statements were from about two years ago,” Hess said.
Many are wondering why the posts were unearthed now.
“This is not something I’m doing out of spite, but something I’m doing out of care for the Town of Naugatuck because they no longer should be lied to,” said Jake Stankiewicz.
16-year-old Jake Stankiewicz says the chief’s daughter sent the message to him privately to years ago when they used to be friends.
Channel 3 got permission from his legal guardian before interviewing Stankiewicz.
“They were sent to me, I had screenshotted them, and was told to delete them as I did, but they were backed into my iCloud, which I discovered yesterday,” Stankiewicz said.
Stankiewicz says he was 13 at the time and the chief’s daughter was 14. He believes the chief’s daughter sent it to him as a joke.
He shared his goal behind exposing the alleged messages.
“I just hope people in positions of power are more accountable for their actions and we can do something to combat the rampant racism everywhere,” Stankiewicz said.
Channel 3 asked Hess if the Hunts could be held responsible for their child’s alleged actions.
“It’s a good question. The answer is to be determined,” Hess said.
In the joint statement released on Friday night, town officials praised the characters of both Chief Hunt and his wife. The mayor confirms he spoke with the chief on Friday.
“It’s obviously disconcerting. It’s a family issue. I’m sure they’re home right now working on it,” Hess said.
Both Chief Hunt and his wife are still employees. The mayor says they are not on leave as these multiple investigations continue.
Chief Hunt and his wife, Johnna, released a joint statement Saturday in response, saying:
"An open letter to the community:
We were alerted on Friday of racist statements made by our daughter approximately two years ago when she was 13 years old. The statements, which were sent privately to a juvenile acquaintance, were despicable in nature and inexcusable. There are many details as to how these messages became public two years later, but our purpose for releasing this statement is focused only on the conduct of our daughter and our response as a family moving forward.
We have raised all three of our children in a loving household always appreciative of the rich diversity in our community and the complex and often inequitable history of race in our society. We condemn the comments made in these messages. In no way, shape or form do they reflect our hearts, minds or the love we have for all our neighbors in this inclusive community. These words do not represent the words spoken in our home or the values and lessons we have taught our children.
We cannot soothe or erase the pain caused by the words and images seen by many. On behalf of our family, we sincerely apologize to all those who were hurt by this. We are left, however, as parents of a scared, regretful child who has and will continue to suffer the consequences of her poor and inexcusable actions. While we fully intend to hold our daughter accountable for her mistakes, we will continue to offer her the same unconditional love any parent would show a child who has erred but showed remorse.
No parent wishes their child to be the primary actor in a “teachable moment”, but there are lessons to be learned. In the age of social media, our words and actions can be scrutinized for all to see. Hurtful and racist comments will live long after they are made. All of us are probably not ever as good as our best day. For our daughter’s sake, we hope that no one will be defined by their worst.
Naugatuck has always been a special place for our family. We were both born and raised here, and take great pride in the wonderful, accepting community that it is. As we walk through the halls of our schools, the streets of our neighborhoods and places we have been throughout the years to support our children’s activities, we are amazed and appreciative of the rich diversity of our people. We are ashamed that this incident occurred and has portrayed our beloved Borough in a negative manner.
We plan to take time to reflect as a family on all that has transpired. We welcome the opportunity to listen, grow and engage in respectful dialogue to begin the healing process and make sure we are doing everything possible to contribute to a welcoming and accepting community that promotes social justice for all of its citizens.
Steven and Johnna Hunt"