Lawmakers, ACLU discuss proposal over police accountability

members of the ACLU and some Connecticut lawmakers met to discuss police accountability. (WFSB)

With emotions, running high after a teenager was shot to death by Bridgeport Police, members of the American Civil Liberties Union and some legislators are pushing for a law that would hold officers involved in "use-of-force" investigations more accountable.

Family and friends said 15-year-old Jayson Negron died from gunshot wounds to the chest. Bridgeport police said Negron and another man were in a stolen car last Tuesday driving the wrong way on Fairfield Avenue when an officer opened fire on them.

A few days later, eyewitness video surfaced showing the teen may have been alive when police handcuffed him. Eyewitness News has chosen not to show that video.

"We've been pushing and pushing and pushing. We need to act," state Rep. Robyn Porter (D-New Haven) said at the Legislative Office Building in Hartford on Tuesday morning. "We've been talking about it. Now, it's time to do something."

On Tuesday morning, some lawmakers and the ACLU urged the House and Senate to pass a bill centered around police misconduct.

"I have police officers in my family. I have police officers that are very dear friends," Porter said. "I understand the job they do. I respect the job they do and I want it to be a collective effort."

The bill, H.B. 6663, An Act Concerning Police Misconduct, calls for officers involved in use-of-force investigations to be suspended without pay as well as establishing deadlines for prosecutors to finish their initial investigations.

"Our children, they need help," state Rep. Chris Rosario (D-Bridgeport) said. "They're in fear. They are in fear."

With only a matter of weeks left in the current legislative session, these leaders including ACLU Executive Director David McGuire are urging the House and the Senate to look more closely at this proposal.

"The fact that this was a 15-year-old, and that we have clear video of him alive dying in the street…really sent a chill through the community,” McGuire said. “It's unacceptable."

There's been pushback on this proposal. Some said they feel this is a direct attack on law enforcement and the work that they do. These lawmakers maintain their goal in this effort is to work together and they want everyone to bring their own ideas to the table.

Those backing this bill are hoping it will be signed into law as soon as possible and they're hoping that will be by the end of this legislative session.

Bridgeport Mayor Joseph Ganim released a statement, saying “Last week, a tragic incident happened in our city that resulted in the loss of a young life. Since then, my office and Police Chief Perez have met formally with members of clergy, civic leaders and local organizations to initiate positive actions to heal now, and how to have and implement better community response in the future."

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