Two Bridgeport police detectives involved in investigating the deaths of two black women have been suspended, the mayor of the Connecticut town said Sunday.
“I am extremely disappointed with the leadership of the Bridgeport Police Department,” Bridgeport Mayor Joe Ganim said in a video announcing the suspensions.
The families of both women — Lauren Smith-Fields, 23, and Brenda Lee Rawls, 53 — have said that police did not inform them of the women’s deaths in a timely manner.
The two suspended detectives are currently the subject of an internal affairs investigation into whether they followed department policy regarding death notifications.
Ganim also said the supervisory officer in charge of overseeing both investigations retired on Friday.
“The Bridgeport Police Department has high standards for officer sensitivity especially in matters involving the death of a family member,” Ganim said.
Smith-Fields’ was found in her Bridgeport apartment on December 12, when a man with whom she’d been on a date the night before called police and said she was unresponsive.
Her death was ruled an accident by the Connecticut Office of the Chief Medical Examiner, the result of drug interactions. Her family disputes that ruling.
Darnell Crosland, an attorney for Smith-Field’s family, responded to the news on Twitter.
“The first step towards healing is to accept liability where there is fault. The Mayor of Bridgeport did that today,” Crosland wrote. “The second step is to answer the questions such as where is the evidence taken from the apartment why wasn’t it sent to the lab for testing.”
Smith-Fields’ family said police failed to notify them of her death, which they only learned about a day later from Smith-Fields’ landlord. They said police eventually told them to stop calling with questions about her death.
Rawls was also found on December 12 after a man called police to say she was unresponsive. Her family said that they were also never notified by Bridgeport police.
Both deaths are still under active investigation by the Bridgeport Police Department and have been assigned to different officers, Ganim said.
With Post wires