Lauren Smith-Fields Died Six Weeks Ago After a Bumble Date. Cops Just Opened a Criminal Probe.

Six weeks later Lauren Smith-Fields‘body was found at her Connecticut home after hanging out with a man she met on a dating app, police said they would open a criminal investigation into the circumstances surrounding her death.

The 23-year-old black woman’s death was ruled an “accident” on Monday, with the state’s chief medical examiner finding that she had died from a toxic combination of fentanyl, prescription drugs and alcohol.

On Tuesday, Bridgeport Police Chief Rebeca Garcia said in a statement that the department would consider “factors that [led] led to her untimely death,” according to Buzzfeed News. Garcia added that the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration has planned to assist detectives in Bridgeport’s narcotics and deputy dept.

The announcement of the criminal investigation comes after a relative of Smith-Fields challenged the medical examiner’s verdict. The 23-year-old’s family has spent weeks calling for justice and preparing to sue the city of Bridgeport and its police department for what they call “racially insensitive” mishandling of the case. case.

Darnell Crosland, who represents the Smith-Fields, told WTNH on Monday: “They are very angry. The 23-year-old’s death looked “more like a murder” to her loved ones, Crosland added. “And if the police don’t start acting quickly, we’re going to have a really big problem,” he said.

Smith-Fields was found in her apartment on December 12 when she was dating Bumble, a 37-year-old white male, who woke up to find she was “not breathing,” according to an incident report. try. The report said blood was also coming out from her right nostril. The man called 911, and was not charged.

But the family alleges they learned of Smith-Fields’ death two days later, when her worried mother drove to her home to find a piece of paper, written by the homeowner, pinned to the door. “If you are looking for Lauren, call this number,” the note said, Shantell Fields told CBS News.

Smith-Fields’ brother, Tavar Grey-Smith, also told CBS that a detective later told the family that the department did not feel the need to contact them because they “have their passports and identification documents.” her, so we know who she is. According to various sources, the detective has been dropped from the case.

A notice of claim, filed Friday as part of the family’s planned lawsuit, alleges police had “disrespected treatment of this family and violated its civil rights.” surname.” In the announcement, Crosland accused the police department of failing to collect potentially significant physical evidence from the Smith-Fields’ home.

It also condemns detectives’ refusal to consider the victim’s date of Bumble as a person of interest in the case. Investigators did not interview the man, as the detective working on the case told Smith-Fields’ father that “he was a good guy,” according to WTNH. Finally, the detective asked the family to “stop calling” with questions about their daughter’s death, Hartford Courant reported.

Activists and local lawmakers have joined the family in pushing for justice. Maria Pereira, a Bridgeport city councilwoman, told Courant She was appalled by the proceedings.

“Do you think if a white father or mother caused their 23-year-old white daughter to die and the last person to see her was an older black man she met on a website? web dating, do you think that would be handled in exactly the same way? ‘ Pereira asked. “I’m sorry, I don’t believe that.”

A Connecticut senator, Dennis Bradley, said Tuesday that he plans to enact legislation requiring authorities to notify the family of a deceased person within 24 hours of their discovery. . The senator said in a statement that the proposed bill would honor Smith-Fields.

On Monday, the mayor of Bridgeport announced that the police department’s conduct in the incident would be independently investigated by the Office of Home Affairs. Mayor Joe Ganim also repeated his promise of reporting police deaths, saying “sensitivity and care are paramount when working with the victim’s family.”

“I support and add my voice to the family, community and elected officials who are calling for state legislation on this issue,” Ganim said, according to Courant.

In a video released Monday night, Crosland said that the Smith-Fields family strongly believe that foul play was linked to the woman’s death. “Someone introduced those drugs into her system, and it wasn’t her,” the attorney said, according to WFSB. “And we want answers now.”

Hours before the Bridgeport sheriff announced the opening of a criminal investigation, Crosland launched another one. press statement. The autopsy results do not excuse the police department’s lack of progress, the attorney noted. “Actually, it makes it worse. As a result of an unsuccessful investigation, this morning we have more questions than answers,” said Crosland.

“No one wants to throw my daughter away like trash,” Shantell Fields said in an emotional speech at a rally in Bridgeport on Sunday, the day Smith-Fields will turn 24. “She turns 24. Baby is not trash. She had a life. She has a business. She is in college. And she had a family and friends who loved her. ”

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