HARTFORD, CT (WFSB) – Local community leaders are calling for change within the walls of Hartford’s Police Department.
This comes after an officer involved shooting and a police bet on Hartford’s first murder of the new year.
“The police department has a constitutional obligation to protect and serve our community. We expect and demand them to do just that,” said Maxien Robinson-Lewin, President of Greater Hartford NAACP.
The Greater Hartford NAACP has formed a coalition with local community leaders and concerned citizens to address recent incidents happening among Hartford’s Police Department.
“This is really a proactive stance. We don’t want to wait to be a Ferguson or an Ohio or other states where things just occur too late. Here it is, the beginning of the year, we are launching the year, one community, one voice, addressing years of systemic racism in Hartford.
Leaders say the police-involved shooting after Christmas raised concerns after an officer shot and killed a man continuing to point his gun at officers.
“What is happening within the walls of the police department? It appears, the culture they are projecting isn’t the culture that’s there,” said J. Stan McCauley, Greater Hartford African American Alliance.
There was also a ‘deadpool’ incident where a Hartford police detective started a bet asking where Hartford’s first murder of 2021 would happen. Officers who participated or didn’t report the incident were disciplined.
“Review of the police department culture including attitude towards inclusiveness, mental health, and department responses to the finding, and how information is shared within the community,” Robinson-Lewin said.
They say they have reached out to the police department about this, but it’s not enough.
“We share our concerns, but that’s about it. It’s met with crisis management and you send press releases and have a sit down, but in reality, nothing changes,” McCauley said.
The group says if their concerns aren’t taken seriously, they want people to resign or be fired.
“The end result is we will call for the resignation and firing of people in charge. We are at that point right now,” Robinson-Lewin said.
Channel 3 reached out to the Hartford Police Department, but they have not responded at this time.