Retired judge Robert Devlin appointed as Connecticut's new inspector general
Longtime judge and former prosecutor Robert Devlin was appointed as Connecticut’s new inspector general Monday afternoon.
Currently, state prosecutors decide if officers face criminal charges in fatal police-involved shootings. Soon, the new inspector general will take over police use-of-force cases.
The position was created after George Floyd's slaying last year. It's part of the state’s sweeping police reform package.
Four candidates were heard from on Monday. Federal public defender Moira Buckley was the only candidate who hasn't been a prosecutor before.
In the past two decades, Connecticut has seen 81 police-involved deaths. Only two officers were charged.
Critics worry the Devlin is too close to law enforcement.
"History has shown me that the vast majority of prosecutors veer on the side of law enforcement because they are law enforcement,” said Corey Betts, of the Connecticut NAACP.
However, other critics worry Devlin will be too anti-police.
“There are people in our society that think police can do no wrong. And there are people in our society that think the police can do no right,” Devlin said. “But it's in that center spot that the inspector general has to work."
It will be a while before the new inspector general actually takes over cases. He still has to hire a team of investigators.
It is not clear if the inspector general has the ability to handle old cases. Devlin says he's not sure he has the authority to reopen old cases.
Claudine Fox, the public policy and advocacy director of the ACLU of Connecticut, said in a statement, "The inspector general position is a mandate from the people for Connecticut to begin valuing Black lives by holding police accountable for hurting and killing people. The inspector general’s role is part of police accountability, and justice will only come when no one is hurt or killed by police."
Will Roberts, the smart justice leader of the ACLU of Connecticut, adds, "Connecticut’s first Inspector General must be dedicated to valuing Black lives and pursuing police accountability instead of the status quo. Police power is unchecked, and it fuels the mass incarceration of Black and Brown people. We hope Connecticut’s first Inspector General will use their role not only to hold police accountable to the people, but to push for bigger change."
The full statement from the ACLU of Connecticut can be found here.