'We feel shattered': Ganim breaks silence after arrest of Bridgeport police chief
Mayor Joe Ganim broke his silence Sunday about the federal probe that led to the arrest of Bridgeport Police Chief AJ Perez, who later resigned.
Ganim says he was rocked to the core by the bombshell revelation that his police chief and close friend Perez, along with civil service director David Dunn, were under arrest for allegedly rigging the police chief's exam.
"We feel shattered. In many ways people have said they feel their hearts are broken, in many ways, on what happened," Ganim says.
The mayor answered specific questions about the FBI probe for the first time Sunday.
An allegation laid out in the government complaint is that Dunn told an independent panelist overseeing the process of hiring a full-time police chief that Ganim wanted Perez to be selected—something Ganim says simply did not happen.
“I would never allow anybody to speak on my behalf, especially on something as important as this,” Ganim says. "If anybody thinks that maybe I should have been more hands-on with this process, maybe I should have, but out of an abundance of caution, with this process and an existing police chief who I knew well, I stayed so far away.”
In the days since the scandal broke, Ganim's world has been turned upside down, with some calling for his resignation, even though he himself has not been charged with anything. But many are wondering out-loud where the ongoing federal probe will go next.
Ganim says he will stand his ground, repeating emphatically that he knew nothing about the alleged rigging of the police chief's exam.
"I wish I did. And had we, we would have stopped the process immediately and people that participated in this as a paid consultant who might have been aware of any impropriety and bring it to our attention, and allowed me to go ahead with a process that was flawed to pick a police chief, that's wrong," Ganim says.
He adds, "We have to turn from here, dispel any inaccuracies about what happened, let the process run its course, and focus on making sure the city government, me as mayor and the rest of us that are here, do the best job that we can every day."
Two members of the Bridgeport City Council have called on Ganim to step down, while others, including City Council President Aidee Nieves, say they're "reserving judgment until the process plays out."