HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — After almost 50 years, a United States district judge in Bridgeport has ended federal oversight into the 1973 decent decree for the Hartford Police Department.
The 1973 consent decree was one of the longest in the country but on Friday a federal judge put an end to it. The NAACP says it’s a disappointing decision and a step backward.
“This decision should not be sunsetted until this community feels comfortable and that there is a strong relationship of trust,” said Scot x Esdaile, president of the Connecticut NAACP.
The 50-year-old decree focused on holding hartford officers accountable for patterns of intimidation, humiliation and violence on Black or Hispanic people. This civil rights lawsuit was first filed in 1969 by city residents. Esdaile says incidents are still happening today.
Judge ends federal oversight of Hartford police after 50 years
“Detectives shared a message proposing a so-called Deadpool for the group to wager on the location of the capitol’s first murder of 2021. Humiliation,” Esdaile said.
The judge’s ruling- states the plaintiffs failed to prove the department was violating any part of the 1973 decree or revisions made to it in 2010. The Hartford City Council did vote in support of extending the decree. Hartford Mayor Luke Bronin says it will not impact the police department.
“Not going to diminish in any way the city of hartford or Hartford’s Police Department’s commitment to making sure we are on the leading edge of reimagining policing of reform or building a relationship of trust,” Bronin said.
The decision was made despite continued concerns the department has not hired enough minority officers to reflect its population.
“Dramatic strides in increasing the number of recruits of color who have come through our academy like a lot of police departments across the state and across the country we have also found it to be one of the most challenging times for retaining police officers and for recruiting,” Bronin said.
The NAACP says they have an upcoming meeting with the mayor and police chief either Wednesday or Thursday to ensure the proper protocols are in place to hold officers accountable.
“Police officers that reflect the communities in which they serve but when it comes to taking the test there’s red tape for these officers to be able to be police officers,” said Corrie Betts, president of the NCAAP Greater Hartford Branch.