Connecticut police transparency task force misses deadline

January 9, 2020 GMT

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — A task force aimed at examining police transparency and accountability across Connecticut has yet to meet and missed a Jan. 1 deadline set by the Legislature for a report with initial recommendations.

The creation of the panel was included a law signed in July by Gov. Ned Lamont, a Democrat. Its purpose is to study accountability and transparency issues including police relationships with people who have disabilities and communities of color.

Some members of the task force are yet to be appointed, said Sen. Gary Winfield, D-New Haven, who wrote the bill.

“The hope is we can get it constituted and have its first meeting in the next couple of weeks,” Winfield said Wednesday.

The task force will aim to provide recommendations to put forward during the upcoming legislative session that begins Feb. 5. A final report is due by Dec. 31.

The creation of the panel was part of a law that also requires police officers to turn over dashboard camera or body-worn camera recordings within 96 hours of an event to the public; requires law enforcement agencies to issue an annual report that looks at use-of-force incidents to the Criminal Justice Policy and Planning division within the Office of Policy and Management; and have the Police Officer Standards and Training Council review an annual report on use of firearms in pursuits by police officers.

Thirteen people will be on the board, including a member of the Connecticut Police Chiefs Association and one from the Black and Puerto Rican Caucus as well as a person who has been involved in the criminal justice system and one who has a mental, intellectual or physical disability. A half-dozen positions still need to be appointed.

David McGuire, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Connecticut, said the importance of the task force was highlighted by the death of Steven Barrier, who died in police custody in October. McGuire said a video of police chasing Barrier left open questions of how the case could have been handled differently.

An autopsy showed no signs of injuries and the cause of Barrier’s death is pending blood tests. Police have said Barrier’s death was due to a medical condition.

“More needs to be done for more transparency” he said, “this is a real crisis ... we welcome the task force convening and make the recommendations.”


Chris Ehrmann is a corps member for Report for America, a nonprofit organization that supports local news coverage, in a partnership with The Associated Press for Connecticut. The AP is solely responsible for all content.