A New Tool For Prosecutors Probing Police Misconduct: Subpoena Power

For decades it’s been debated in the Connecticut General Assembly, how to strike a balance with law enforcement investigative tools that tames abuse of power. Legislators will meet in special session on Thursday to address a number of issues including the role subpoena power plays in probing misconduct of police officers.

In this story by Keylan Lyons of the CT Mirror Bridgeport State Rep. Steve Stafstrom, co-chair of the Judiciary Committee, provides insight.

Legislators plan to accept prosecutors’ proposals and grant investigative subpoena power to the inspector general, said Rep. Steven Stafstrom, D-Bridgeport, the co-chair of the Judiciary Committee. They will allow the new prosecutor to subpoena records from municipalities and police departments, including the state cops, and to compel testimony from individual police officers.

“I think it’s more important than ever,” Stafstrom said. “And today’s report certainly highlights the need for the IG to be able to compel documents from local police departments because we’ve just seen too many times where they’ve tried to stonewall investigations.”

The suggestion puts criminal justice advocates in a tricky spot. Granting subpoena power would help prosecutors investigate police misconduct when their brothers in blue refuse to cooperate with state’s attorneys’ probes. It also could help them file criminal charges against officers who unjustifiably use deadly force–an outcome that has occurred once since 2001–which is a change supporters of reform are demanding.

Full story here.



  1. Please, give me a break, you have family member investigating another family member. Prosecutors need the police to investigate and to make their cases so why would they turn against those who are helping them?

  2. There has to be a balance approach. Cops are put in untenable with regards to people resisting arrest. Just like what happen to Rayshard Books. If didn’t resist arrest and take the taser. That incident wouldn’t have happen. Could it have going another way where Brooks didn’t get killed, yes, however it could have gone where he hit the officer and got the drop on him and took his real gun too.

    There should be a 6-month mandatory house arrest with monitoring bracelet, just assece for work and essentials visits. Doctors etc. , for resisting arrest and fight with officers, as will as any car chases. and 6-month unpaid suspension for officers who target and use of excessive force on citizens. The will stop a good portion of misconduct on both side. Cops start lose 6-month of pay for bullshit behavior they’ll stop and if people start having to be confined to house arrest they will stop changing the police. Simple measures with results. As of now cops are the demonized. JS.

  3. The Blue Wall of Silence is real and cops don’t snitch among their own but they want the public to be snitches. That Blue Wall of Silence includes Blacks, women and every other ethnic group and these prosecutors are not going to bite the hand that feeds them.

    1. Ron we know that. That’s where cams, videos and complains come in. Cop just don’t go around abusing people. The can and do esclate or provide the situation, even profile. as well as citizens provide cops. Like you said it’s realy not a race or gender issues. It’s about getting away it. The 6-month unpaid suspension and house arrest will change the behaviour without waiting for another Floyd. You want changes. In the end all cops have to do is their job according. Howere people forget their job is mostly. JS people https://www.cnn.com/2020/07/11/us/texas-police-officers-fatally-shot/index.html

  4. Here in Bridgeport we have some good police officers who go out every day to serve the residents of Bridgeport, I’ve never had a bad relation with any police officer but there are communities in the city who don’t trust the police. Below is a story about Breonna Taylor wo was shot killed by the police while she was i her bed asleep, Taylor was killed on March 13th and here we are July 21st and not one police officers has been charged or even arrested.

    The Bridgeport Police Department is under investigation by the FBI right now and please don’t think those body cameras are going to change much. Where are those good police officer who see another cop doing something wrong and who step up and challenge that person because that bad action effects all of the good cops. The Blue Wall of Silence needs to be broken but if you speak out the other officer will not respond to their call for help if they get in a jam.

    1. Ron, that’s the extreme. You can’t send cops to jail for doing their job. But you can suit the shit out of them for the failures. Most abuse doesn’t lead to death by cop abusing the authority with excessive force. Suspension without pay will reduce stupid racial abusiveness. You start suspending cops without pay for their abusive arrests and profiling. It will curve their behavior, and You start placing people on house arrest for car chases and resisting arrest that to curve people behavior. https://www.wsj.com/articles/trump-signs-policing-executive-order-11592325988

  5. “Qualified Immunity” Anchors Cop Debate | New Haven Independent

    Mike Lawlor a former co-chair of the state legislature’s Judiciary Committee, a former state undersecretary for criminal justice policy and planning, and an associate professor who teaches about criminal justice at the University of New Haven — said that this at-times opaque legalistic dispute over qualified immunity has potentially profound ramifications.

    “The whole point of this is to provide an even stronger incentive to local governments to make sure they’re very careful in hiring, in training, and in supervising their officers,” he said in an interview with the Independent. New Haven State Sen. Gary Winfield (pictured), who took the lead in authoring the police accountability bill, serves as Senate chair of the state legislature’s Judiciary Committee

    “The incentive is: If [officers] do something and they violate constitutional rights, it’s going to cost [the state or municipality] a lot of money. There’s a much stronger incentive for training, recruitment and oversight.”

  6. Here is the misunderstanding. Society thinks that if a cop abuses his power and violates someone’s civil rights, he is protected by qualified immunity, that couldn’t be further from the truth.


    I promise you if this bill passes, cops will leave because they are going to be scared to make decisions because 95% of the decisions they have to make are not black and white. They are gray and because that’s how laws in Connecticut are written, they’re written gray.

    The other facet of this, your local police department won’t be able to recruit qualified and top candidates. So what happens then? These unqualified candidates take positions, that should have never been allowed. And they exacerbate the current issue of unqualified officers that is currently much smaller than depicted by media.

    Connecticut also believe it or not is the gold standard of policing. It’s one of the only 2 states you can take your certification and it will be accepted in just about any state. CT doesn’t doesn’t take many if any certifications out of state because our training so much superior to the rest of the country.

    The other issue I have with this bill is how fast it was rushed. I have a constitutional law attorney look it over at my job and he was dumbfounded. Your legislators wrote this Mickey Mouse bill in 7 days without proper advice or discussion between them and law enforcement. The attorney actually said this law just opened the flood gates on the state and local cities for law suits even further. He said not only are citizens going sue local and state government in frivolous law suits as they due today, but just opened up the ability for cops to do it. Cops are going to sue the municipalities and state at alarming rates because when they should have been afford protection, they were not. Here come all of the prosecutorial misconduct cases from cops.

    The right thing to do, would be to sit down members of the community, law enforcement experts, legislatures, and come to a conclusion together. Both sides want reform, but this isn’t reform this a beheading of public safety as we know it.

    1. Jo Salling, it’s obvious that you didn’t read my post above. “The whole point of this is to provide an even stronger incentive to local governments to make sure they’re very careful in hiring, in training, and in supervising their officers,” he said in an interview with the Independent. New Haven State Sen. Gary Winfield. Bridgeport testing company for fire and police doesn’t have the skills and ability to give an exam with the demographic, population and the racial makeup of Bridgeport. To many times cities and towns hire testing companies with the lowest cost. Bridgeport doesn’t hire testing companies that are black. Again, New Haven State Sen. Gary Winfield has it right, local governments need to make sure they’re very careful in hiring, in training, and in supervising their officers.”

      1. That’s bullshit. Atleast 50% of Bridgeport’s police department is from Bridgeport.

        Now you want to bring racial hiring into it? as a resident I want the MOST qualified candidates not racial preference. As a matter of fact, I urge that Bridgeport either hires cops with a minimum Associates degree and those hired must be provided with the opportunity to get their bachelors.

        That’s how you get qualified candidates, not give preference point because someone resides in the city.

        Your chief is born and bred in Bridgeport and is now suspect in a FBI investigation for corruption.

        Personally I prefer someone from out of state with no ties to this city with no prejudice to the city.

    2. I agree with you on qualified Immunity, The way our litigation sue-happy society is it would be like the wild west on suing cops. Isn’t Ganim suing an airlane of a dog “bite” not like he was mauled by the dog on the plain, but that the game?

      The problem cops are never deemed to have made a mistake in good faith regardless of the fact. Unless it’s so blatantly obvious, an outcry is made. Mostly the NAACP. If they marched and called for the cop who shot and killed Jayson to be fired, he would have been. Black lives matter, but brown Latinos matter less. Just my opinion. Like a criminal who is caught red-handed still pleads not guilty until a deal is made. The state is not going to admit to anything if they don’t really have too.

      The real issue is cops are not even being punished for what is deemed mistakes. My solution would be cops should have prosecution immunity for their mistakes, however, any lawsuits regarding those mistakes against the city should also be for the firing or some type of punishment too, of said, officer, If the city settles a lawsuit, punishment should be in agreement to, be it firing or unpaid suspension.

      You really can’t expect the police to police themselves. Don’t expect the state to omit to a lawsuit claim that they have to payout. While these cops got fired for their actions. If the crime was just a standard DV, a black eye, or emotional trauma, we wouldn’t be reading this story. Just look at what it took for this guy to get fired from the BPD? If he does this to people he knows and is with, what do you think his treatment is to people he arrests. And to say people in the force didn’t know about his tendencies is the same as saying QUALIFIED IMMUNITY. Js people. BAM I;m out https://www.ctpost.com/news/article/Shelton-police-chief-Three-officers-fired-for-15423548.php?src=ctphpcp

      1. I agree with you to a point. But you’re conflicting two separate ideas.

        Why that cop didn’t get fired sooner is solely different than why real cops need qualified immunity. As for the settlements by the city it’s not the police departments fault. Those lawsuits are frivolous 90% of the time if not more. The city’s attorney office would rather pay someone a settlement even if the officer did the right thing because by fighting them in trial would use too much of their valued time, it would make them actually do their job, and it would exceed the cost of the settlement to fight it.

        So in essence, every single time just about even the Colorado Avenue incident, the city paid out 100k because they were too lazy to fight it in trial. The Office of Internal affairs mislead that investigation and actually lied on their final reports, slandering 17 officers. When those officers hired lawyers to contest that investigation, the Internal Affairs department was completely discredited for what they did. They rephrased officers statements to make them look guilty, they tampered with video evidence, oh and by the way the photos they leaked to the press of those injured parties were not the photos taken of the suspects in booking that day.

        In essence I think we should hold out city’s attorney office accountable for the stupid payouts that make it look like the cops did something wrong when they really don’t want to spend the money to fight it even if the cop was right. So in essence when this law passes or if it passes what will happen is that not only will citizens contend the city with frivolous lawsuits it opens the gate for the cops to do it too. So now it’s going to be double the payouts out of the taxpayer pocket.

        Do cops need to be held accountable ? Absolutely and I’m all for that. But what is happening today is a witch hunt against law enforcement and I do not feel safe in this city by our government doing that.

        Circumstantial evidence is never enough to convict someone in court but apparently it’s enough to suspend a cop without pay? How? What rationale ?

        The reason that cop didn’t get fired for the DV had nothing to with those cops not doing their job. He was arrested and charged with sexual assault, what that department didn’t tell you is the cops they fired are union president and Vice President in Shelton who are at war with a corrupt chief and mayor much like our own. So in retaliation to a dispute over working conditions due to Covid the Chief and Mayor retaliated and fired using the DV as an excuse. When the initial investigation said they did nothing wrong or reckless. I’ll bet my pension those cops get their job back because they did not impede the arrest of the suspect which did happen.

        1. Jo, in Bridgeport the city has been hiring young white males from the suburbs who have no life experience with anyone black, they have no interchange with blacks, they don’t have black neighbors, blacks don’t attend their church, now they might have seen a few at school but there were no black teachers or coaches, that’s real. Now you want to place this young man in the East End or at PT Barnum Apartments and you expect him to relate to that community?

          1. That’s misleading at best.
            And even if they did are you condoning the continuous segregation? Your okay with not hiring white cops to intervene with the black community and continue the work of forming unity between white cops and minority citizens? That’s a bit racist on your part.

            Fortunately what you said is not true, it’s doesn’t matter where you are from? If yours good person in your heart where you live doesn’t matter.

            If your saying that you want to hire more black cops so that they can condone the violence happening in Pt? Well you just showed your true agenda. You don’t care for law and order, you care to coddle the criminals that torment the innocent people in PT.

            The thing about PT is that the silent majority of people who want to live in peace, don’t condone the criminals that live and terrorize it. Fortunately they can’t speak up to cops well because they’re in fear from the criminals not the cops.

  7. Oh please Jo Salling, that’s the craziest thing I’ve ever heard. “I want the MOST qualified candidates not racial preference.”

    A written score determines the best candidate? Are you aware that on most entry level exams five points can separate 10 to 20 people and are you saying that the person that scores one point better is the most qualified candidate? Ludicrous! How does an exam measure honesty, integrity, character of one’s ability to be a team player. All these are characteristics to be a good firefighter or policeman, so one points is an indicator of a more qualified individual? Ludicrous!
    I heard that bullshit my whole career as a Bridgeport firefighter, yet I was the 1st non-white to score in the top two on a promotional exam, (Captain) in the history of the BFD. I passed three promotional exams and yet I heard how I wasn’t qualified to get the job even after I passed those three exams.
    The Firebird Society of Bridgeport took as much 52% of every tested position and routinely took 40% of most exams even though as Black and Latino firefighters, we were less than 15% of the department. White folks need to let that argument go because it no longer carries water in the 21st century.

    1. That’s not what im saying, but the color of your skin or anyone’s for that matter should not have any preference to your promotion. If you passed those exams, I commend you, applaud you. At no point should you have been told what you’ve been told.

      I don’t think tests are enough. College education is a necessity that makes you qualified, having a background in reading research of your profession makes you qualified, leadership training makes you qualified, and overall your merit makes you qualified.

      Our standards are way too low on both spectrums. I rather give someone an extra 15 point who has a bachelors and 20 points to someone with a Masters when evaluations candidates.

      1. Jo Salling, what do you know about testing the objective and standards of testing is? Did you know that there are Federal Guideline? Jo, let me ask you a question, do you know where your doctor placed on his Medical Board test or where did your attorney placed on his Bar exam? You don’t know if they were at the bottom of the list or not, the only thing you know is that they passed the exam? Jo, Bridgeport has systemic racism i testing and the most obvious example is the Bridgeport Fire Department, for the past 12 years Bridgeport has not hired ONE woman as a firefighter, in 12 years, the City could not hire ONE woman and what’s worse is the fact is no one is mad or upset about that, not one City Council woman member, no one but two Black men who are retire, former Captain, Donald Day and myself, a former Lieutenant in the BFD. Jo, this City has problems.

      2. Jo, so you’re saying that the a cop will be a better police officer if have gone to college. you said, ” I rather give someone an extra 15 point who has a bachelors and 20 points to someone with a Masters when evaluations candidates,” why? Does a college degree give someone courage, heart, the ability to work with different groups?

  8. You proved why people want QUALIFIED IMMUNITY off the table. You did nothing but defended every action in that statement and placed the blame some else even though you omitted to 10% justifiably with 0 accountability.

    Let me start with the obvious. The report did state the two cops who got fired was the Union President and Vice President of the Police Union of Shelton. While you bet your pension those cops get their job back. I bet they know it was another cop apartment and didn’t make a real effort to investigate what was going on. unfortunate for them it was more than this cops DV, MO.

    Maybe it’s a witch hunt but for that 10% ers it real? I try not to read to much is what people say based on coded language. A lie is a lie no matter how it’s implemented. Mostly for QUALIFIED IMMUNITY, but words matter.

    I believe you agreed with me on the wild west of lawsuits. But just because 90% of those lawsuits against cops are frivolous doesn’t mean they are without merits. Joe Ganim’s dog bite lawsuit is frivolous but has merits. That’s the game. I don’t think it’s wise to subjugate officers to that game where cops are the trending ambulance. Let’s leave that game to a handful of attorneys like Bucci. We don’t need every lawyer in town extracting funds for the city and state governments through lawsuits and litigations 🙂

    The City’s attorney office pay settlement not because they are frivolous but because they have merits in a court of law.

    They settle Colorado Avenue incident not because of what those offices’ lawyers came up with but what the victim attorneys will come up with and would present it to a jury at trial.

    Circumstantial evidence is enough to convict someone in a court of law, Apparently, to you it’s shouldn’t be enough to hold officers accountable to suspend a cop without pay.

    by the way, are you saying cops in the Internal Affairs Officed lied on their official police report investigation? Do you think those officers who mislead tath investigation and lied on their reports should be held accountable like being fired, or suspended or is that just circumstantial evidence? Think about that, let that sink in.

    P.S Didn’t some officers commit suicide over that investigation? Good luck people.


      1. You’re unpacking nothing but false statements. I actually worked for the city, I actually took and passed the BAR exam but never really became an attorney I made more money as an advisor.

        On the hand which I say, The city settles because it’s cheaper not because it holds merit. It’s quite common for criminals to pleaded guilty to charges, and still win a settlement from the city? Why because it would cost the city double to do to trial. And holding merit in court isn’t much of a gauge in its credibility. Even here say has to be heard in court and potentially hold merit.

        I promise you, as I’ve worked there, your city’s attorney office is a joke and is the real reason your city pays out for EVERYTHING! Good night troll

        1. Please!
          I am sure you are a smart person. When you passed the BAR I was lucky if I could’ve spelt it. 🙂
          To be fair I was unpacking false statements, yours. Bam. 🙂

          I will give you, sometimes it is cheaper to settle then go to trial, but that pendulum swings both ways. The payout might be more if you lost. To you point, which I address too. “I don’t think it’s wise to subjugate officers to that game where cops are the trending ambulance. Let’s leave that game to a handful of attorneys like Bucci. We don’t need every lawyer in town extracting funds for the city and state governments through lawsuits and litigations”

          Help me out with this though. If holding merit in court isn’t much of a gauge in its credibility and cops reports are not much of a gauge since you stated. “The Office of Internal affairs mislead that investigation and actually lied on their final reports, slandering 17 officers.” Where does that leave the 10% how you said are true victims?

          P.S I think you were somewhat harsh by calling me a troll. It was a conversation that Rich thought it was entertaining, to say the least. He’s a was cop and you know cops don’t lie, and since you passed the BAR you know lawyers don’t lie either. 🙂 BBBBAMMMM!

          “When the debate is lost, slander becomes the tool of the loser.” Socrates.


  9. Jo, Bridgeport should reflex the taxpayers they serve and they reside in the city that’s pay their salary, weren’t looking for scientist we’re looking for candidates of all races and sex who are residents of Bridgeport, residents who have roots in the city and who care about Bridgeport.

    1. Then go speak with all your friends who are elected officials and have them demand that the next contracts FOR ALL CITY EMPLOYEES or future employees have the residency requirements you are wishing for. Complaining won’t work.
      Good luck with that!…..AND…if you are successful with that, then good luck with that too!!!!

      1. Rich, once again you are misinform. Someone applying for a city job has NO collective bargaining rights or union rights, Hartford, CT hires police and firefighters from a list of city residents who pass the exam, they will select out of towners once the resident list expires. You reside in the city one year prior taking the exam, after their probation they can move anywhere they want but don’t believe me check it out for yourself.

  10. Jo Salling, you are big on hiring the best person based on their test score, well I have not hear a single word from you about the person who is responsible for giving all of the City’s tests and hiring is the City Personnel Director, David Dunn. The City Personnel Director, David Dunn has been in he position of the City’s “ACTING” Personnel Director, Dunn has never taken or passed the exam for the Personnel Director, David Dunn has been in his role as the “ACTING” Personnel Director for 12 years, yes, 12 years and he has NEVER pass an exam for the Personnel Director a position position by the City Charter calls for a nationwide search and test to hire the best person. The City Charter has been violated by not having a nationwide search and test for the position of the City Personnel Director. What say you Jo Salling, this goes back to Mayor Fabrizi, Bill Finch and Joe Ganim, what’s wrong with this picture?

  11. Ron, what are you doing with regard to Rich? On July 19th you told me, “Replying back to this fool makes no sense.”
    When did that change? 🤔☻

    1. Yeah you’re right as again I say: if you had a half a brain you’d be dangerous. Two poor excuses for two people who should know better but are to ignorant to figure it out.
      Very lame and sorrowful. Sad.

  12. Don, you notice that Jo Salling didn’t answer my last question to him about testing and the fact that one person in the City whogieas all of City’s exam has not passed the test for the position that he has and the fact that the position that David Dunn holds the ACTING Personnel Director position for 12 years in which that position calls for a nationwide search by the City Charter.


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