U.S. Rep. Jahana Hayes has been the recent target of racist phone calls, vile emails and social media posts. Lawmakers were warned to take more precautions at public events during Congress’ summer break.
WASHINGTON — A rash of cases involving police violence against young black men — most recently including the death of a Baltimore man in police custody — has bolstered the case for body-worn police video cameras both in Connecticut and Washington. Several Connecticut departments are exploring the idea, and the U.S. Senate will hold a hearing on the issue this week.
The current version of a bill regulating the disclosure of police arrest records would permit Connecticut law enforcement agencies to keep secret virtually any information they choose with regard to the state’s Freedom of Information Act. Passage of the bill in this form would engender more public mistrust in law enforcement and feed the widely-held perception, particularly in minority communities, of official government cover-ups of police misconduct.
The death of Freddie Gray in the custody of police in Baltimore reminds us that African Americans are more likely than any other racial group to be arrested in almost every city, for almost every type of crime. One report concluded that young African American males are 21 times more likely to be shot by police than their white counterparts. Connecticut has its history of systemic police racism, too, and it is time for it to be addressed.