2 Bridgeport Police Detectives Suspended After Deaths of Lauren Smith-Fields, Brenda Lee Rawls

A pair of Bridgeport detectives investigating the December 12 deaths of two Black women have been suspended from handling the cases, the city’s mayor announced Sunday.

“I want you to know that I am deeply disappointed with the leadership of the Bridgeport Police Department and find the actions taken so far to be unacceptable,” Mayor Joe Ganim wrote in a statement. declare.

Ganim said he ordered the leader of the Bridgeport Police Department to place both Det. Angel Llanos and Det. Kevin Cronin is on administrative leave. Both officers will remain suspended until an internal investigation into “lack of public sensitivity and disobedience to police policy” is concluded, the mayor added.

Bridgeport police conduct was closely monitored because both families of Lauren Smith-Fields and Brenda Lee Rawls began demanding answers after their deaths. Both women were found dead on the same day, and neither the family was notified by police. Both families accused the authorities of not taking the cases seriously, treating them with racial insensitivity.

Rawls, 53, died on December 12 after visiting a man who lived near her in Bridgeport, her family said. NBC News earlier this week.

Dorothy Rawls Washington, Rawls’ sister, told NBC News: “No one informed us that she was dead. “We had to investigate on our own and find out where she was.”

Washington said family members visited the man’s home on December 14 after days of unsuccessful attempts to contact Rawls. The man told them that he was unable to wake Rawls and that she was dead.

Another sister, Angela Rawls Martin, said the man then handed over her Rawls clothes and shoes. “I don’t understand why that was left out,” Martin told NBC.

Washington alleges that Rawls was treated by police “like she was a Jane Doe,” adding that it was like “they found her on the side of the road without identification. They have no respect.” She explained that she had tried to call an unnamed detective, whom she had been named by the Bridgeport Police Department, at least four times. She never received a response from him, she said.

Family members of Smith-Fields, 23, sounded the same alarm after she was found dead after dating a 37-year-old man she met on the dating app dating Bumble. However, it was only 48 hours later that her family found out after the Smith-Fields’ mother involved drove her home. A note, pinned to the door by the owner of Smith-Fields, instructs her to “call this number,” Shantell Fields told CBS News.

Tavar Gray-Smith, Smith-Fields’ brother, also told CBS that a detective had said the family had not been contacted since authorities “got her passport and identification, because So we know who she is.”

The family has accused the police of mishandling the case of “racial insensitivity”, writing in a recent statement about the complaint that the department treated them “with disrespect” and a “violation of public rights”. their people.” Similar to the initial investigation into Rawls’ death, her family said significant physical evidence was likely not collected from the Smith-Fields’ home.

The notice also condemned authorities’ refusal to consider Smith-Fields’ Bumble dating as a person of interest in their investigation, refusing to interview him after a detective told Smith’s father- Fields that the date was “a good guy”, according to a local shop.

The Daily Beast did not name the man, as he has not been charged.

Amid the appeals of the 23-year-old player’s family, public interest in the snowball incident culminated when rapper Cardi B tweeted Last Sunday, “Justice for Lauren. Connecticut you failed that young girl!!! ”

A day later, Connecticut’s chief medical examiner ruled Smith-Fields’ death an “accident”. noticed she had overdosed on a lethal combination of fentanyl, prescription drugs, and alcohol. The family immediately objected to the ruling and on January 25, acting Sheriff Rebeca Garcia said the department would open criminal investigation into the “factors that [led to Smith-Fields’] die prematurely.”

Darnell Crosland, an attorney representing the Smith-Fields family, told TMZ that Cardi B was “instrumental” in opening the investigation.

In the wake of the outcry over Smith-Fields’ death, Ganim has also announced that he will be working with Sheriff Garcia to “make appropriate changes” to police policies regarding police death notice. He added in a statement last Monday that “sensitivity and care are of paramount importance when working with victims’ families”.

Rawls’ family said they sent multiple letters to both Ganim and Garcia after they discovered her death, begging for justice. Neither the mayor nor the sheriff responded to the letters on Thursday, when NBC released its story.

“The Bridgeport Police Department has high standards for officer sensitivity, especially in matters involving the death of a family member,” Ganim said Sunday. “It’s an unacceptable failure if the policies are not followed.” He added that the deaths of Smith-Fields and Rawls are still under active investigation, having been reassigned to other members of the department. Ganim also said an unnamed “monitoring officer” who oversaw “these matters” had quit at the department on Friday.

Llanos began his career with the Bridgeport police force in 1988, while Cronin began with the agency in 2000. With Garcia apparently moving away from his post, Ganim said he has since moved on. directed Deputy Chief of Police James Baraja to proceed with the suspension. The mayor did not specify the reason for Garcia’s absence.

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