Bridgeport slaying leads to call for police accountability

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HARTFORD -

The American Civil Liberties Union and Democratic state lawmakers are renewing their push for a police accountability law following the slaying of a teen suspect by a Bridgeport officer earlier this week.

As News 12 has reported, police chased a stolen car to the intersection of Fairfield and Park avenues, where a confrontation resulted in Jayson Negron's death, a bullet wound for his 21-year-old passenger and injuries to officers as well.

The bill would add strict requirements for police and prosecutors following police-involved shootings. One such rule would force law enforcement agencies to immediately release videos of the shooting. Police argue that quickly releasing videos could hinder investigations.

But lawmakers who support the bill, like state Rep. Christopher Rosario, say steps need to be taken to ensure accountability.

As News 12 has reported, Negron's relatives say a viral video of the incident's aftermath contradicted the version of events they were given by police.

"When you have law enforcement tell the family one thing -- and then for us to find something else on social media -- it's heartbreaking," says Rosario, a Bridgeport Democrat.

The bill would also require prosecutors to issue a preliminary report within 15 days of a police use-of-force case.

"There should be some basic questions that should be answered within two weeks," says state Rep. Robyn Porter, a New Haven Democrat.

But the bill has its critics, like Bridgeport legislative director Av Harris, who says it goes too far.

"You want to do disclosure in a way that will help the public understand what happened, but you don't want to do it so much, that it's so quick, that it compromises the integrity of an investigation," he says.

Another feature of the bill would be to change mandatory administrative leave for police after shooting incidents from paid to unpaid, but Porter stressed that that wasn't to punish officers.

"I don't want officers to feel like this is an attack on them, because it's not," Porter says. "I understand, and I believe that a lot of this stems from improper training."

And although Negron's slaying has renewed interest in the bill, it continues to face an uphill battle. It's been stalled for two months in the state's General Assembly.

After the Hartford push and back in Bridgeport, relatives and friends announced plans to gather Tuesday evening. They say police-involved shootings in minority communities leave them feeling over-policed and under-protected.

Also in the city, Mayor Joe Ganim says he is applying for grants to buy body and dashboard cameras for police.

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