HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — Hartford Inspector General Liam Brennan announced Wednesday that he is running for mayor — the same day that the Hartford Police Union called for him to be fired from his current post.
“We can end the failed War on Drugs in New Haven, while tackling gun violence through effective municipal gun regulations,” Brennan said in a written announcement. “We can increase the availability – and affordability – of housing. And we can ensure that our children receive a world class education. We can do this by reimagining how our city government works and committing ourselves to making it work better – by having city government work with the people of New Haven instead of standing in their way.”
The Hartford Police Union, however, wants Brennan removed from his position, stating that the Civilian Police Review Board has made “unsolicited, slanderous, and biased attacks on Hartford Police Union members that have left the HPU shocked and confused,” according to an announcement from Hartford Police Department Union President James Rutkauski.
The union said it met with the board through a Zoom call on Jan. 25 to address citizen complaints. Five board members were present, along with Brennan.
While discussing a protective sweep the police department’s emergency response team executed during a search warrant, Brennan “omitted to tell the CPRB the target threat/risk level was the reason” the unit deployed. The sweep included first and second floor apartments and a basement. The union said the sweep was done due to the suspect’s criminal history.
“Based on Attorney Brennan’s omission of critical facts and biased explanation of law to the five CPRB members, the five CPRB members voted without asking a single question to sustain alleged Civil Rights violations and other serious violations of law against Hartford Police ERT members,” the union said in its announcement.
In another case, an officer used force while making an arrest, and Brennan “presented an older standard and explanation of excessive force,” the statement reads. The standard was from 1973, while it was updated in 2015.
The union said that the board voted again without asking any questions.
“Attorney Brennan chose not to afford the Hartford Police Union members their due rights,” the statement from the union reads.
“In the two cases the Hartford Police Union examined, Attorney Brennan presented arguments in a biased opinion against Hartford Police Union members,” the statement from the union reads. “In addition, he omitted critical and factual information to the members of the CRPB. We believe Attorney Brennan’s omissions of critical and factual information and the improper representation of an older use of force standard did not allow the CPRB to make an informed and non-biased decision related to the citizen complainants. Through his actions Attorney Brennan has led the CPRB to slander the reputation of the members of the Hartford Police Union.”
The union went on to say that Brennan is destroying the police department’s reputation.
“His actions have eroded and undermined our community’s trust in the hard-working men and women of the Hartford Police Union,” the statement reads.
Brennan said he stands by the investigations into the cases.
“In each instance, police officers violated the constitutional rights of Hartford residents – once by conducting an unconstitutional search and another time by using excessive force,” he said in a written statement to News 8. “Such errors have real consequences for the citizens involved. They should have consequences for the officers involved as well. Independent oversight is a cornerstone of effective governance, and I’m proud of the work the Office of Inspector General and the Civilian Police Review Board have done and will continue to do to make Hartford safer and better governed. Change is never easy and the Hartford Police Union is unused to robust civilian oversight. These are natural growing pains. Hartford is on a path to a better future, one in which democratic oversight of law enforcement will be routine and uncontroversial. I am proud to be a small part of building that future.”