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.