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Details Of ‘Racist’ Letter Probe Stalls, Finch Balks At Releasing Police Info

November 25th, 2015 · 17 Comments · Analysis and Comment, Law Enforcement, News and Events

white power letter

This letter falsifies Assistant Chief James Nardozzi’s name.

Sometimes when mayoral administrations are on the verge of a switch, key decisions are held back as a matter of convenience to duck controversial news on the way out the door. That’s the case involving a contentious issue in the police department. Police Chief Joe Gaudett on Tuesday was poised to place a high-profile police official on administrative leave in connection with the motive and authenticity behind a racially charged letter distributed throughout the department in February that also involved now-retired police officer Clive Higgins, the only one of three city police officers acquitted in federal court with the stomping of a suspect in Beardsley Park several years ago. State law enforcement officials also simultaneously continue a criminal investigation involving the role of city police officers manufacturing the letter typed anonymously on police letterhead to embarrass police leadership.

A few hours before Tuesday’s scheduled 5 p.m.disciplinary action, the meeting with the chief was cancelled. As one source said, “This may be a case where the next administration has to clean up the dirty dishes.” Mayor Bill Finch, just days from leaving office, apparently wants to save news of the investigation for incoming Mayor Joe Ganim. Not exactly a profile in courage for Finch whose political hero is John F. Kennedy.

The local police internal investigation and the criminal probe by state police centers on fabrication of the letter that investigators believe was a ruse to set the appearance of a racial divide within the department. In one letter threatening language was directed at Higgins, an African American veteran police officer. Another letter distributed a few months ago, headlined “White Power,” falsified the name of Assistant Chief James Nardozzi who stated following disclosure of the letter “I am disgusted that someone would make such a hateful statement and falsify my signature to the document. I did not write or sign this letter nor have I made statements that even remotely reflect the sentiments of this letter.”

Higgins was also mentioned in another letter as well as Lieutenant Lonnie Blackwell, president of the Bridgeport Guardians minority police organization. As the investigation gained some traction, Higgins resigned from the police department.

A few weeks ago the union representing city police officers demanded Gaudett, approaching the end of his five-year appointment by outgoing Mayor Finch, release results of an internal investigation into the root cause of the letters’ distribution. Will Finch reappoint Gaudett in his last days in office?

“It has been brought to the attention of the Bridgeport Police Union, Local 1159, that the investigation in the above-captioned matter has been finalized and delivered on or about September 21, 2015,” wrote AFL-CIO Council 4 staff representative Kelly Rommel in a joint news release issued with Sergeant Chuck Paris, president of Local 1159. “We again repeat the plea that our officers need closure in this matter. The members of Local 1159 work tirelessly to serve and protect the citizens of Bridgeport. Nevertheless, there has been a cloud over the heads of the entire department since this disparaging letter was delivered.”

Paris added, “It’s time to shed some light here, so we can all move on. We hope and expect the Finch administration will disclose the results of the investigation, and not leave it for the next administration to clean up. The sooner we begin any healing that’s necessary, the better.”

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17 Comments so far ↓

  • donj

    Seven years ago??? Didn’t this happen like two years ago? Anyhow seems like a bad move by the current administration. Really wonder if Ganim will hire 100 cops like he promised.

  • Harvey Weintraub

    This is not surprising. Finch throughout his tenure has chosen to either keep the truth silent or deny he knew about certain things we all know he lied about. A few of the things that come to mind, Manny’s driveway, ’til this day Bill still has not talked about it. During the campaign, he gave an order to keep the reporting of crimes to a minimum to make it seem like things were under control, etc etc. And now, in his last few days in office, he still is trying to hide things. Unbelievable.

  • Vale la Pena

    Thursday, February 19, 2015 CT Post
    Racist letter sent to Bridgeport cops spurs probe

    Where are they now?
    Where are you, Detective Dimbo?
    Where is the National Association of Black Law Enforcement Officers?
    Where is the NAACP?
    Where is the outrage from the black community?
    Could it be one of your members was the author of the letters?
    And that is why there’s no press conference requesting the outcome to be exposed?
    Liar Finch and No cojones Gaudett, they know the outcome of the investigation.
    Instead of doing the right thing before leaving office, they once again stall putting out the outcome.
    They are showing their true colors. Finch the liar, sore loser, conniving piece of crap. Gaudett the puppet, no cojones, fake ass of a police chief.
    One can only wonder what it is the author of the letters knows some dirty little secret about Gaudett.
    Time will tell.

    • Ron Mackey

      Vale la Pena, Donald Day and myself have said right here on OIB, no matter who wrote that letter needs to be punished because there is no place for that type of racism. Now I can’t speak for others but here are two black men who are speaking out.

  • Frank Venna

    Hopefully the results will be released after December 1st, unless those results got shipped somewhere else also.

  • The Phantom

    This Chief has been a spineless puppet for five years. Why change on his way out the door? I hope the doorknob does hit him on his way out. At least it won’t hurt his backbone.

  • Vale la Pena

    Ron Mackey and Donald Day, I commend you for your bravery. We need more people like you gentlemen.
    But like me I’m sure you see the double standard. I’ll bet anything if the author of the letters were other than black, liar Finch and no-balls Gaudett would have exposed him or her all over the news along with the Guardians.
    I ask again, where is Detective Dimbo and the Guardians?
    How come there is no press conference demanding the responsible or responsibles be exposed?
    Could it be the author and mastermind of the letters was sitting at that table when they did the press conference?!
    Only time will tell.

  • Black Rockin

    I am offended the letterhead refers to “Emerald Society.” That no one mentions this and its implied suggestion is simply Wrong.

    • John Marshall Lee

      White? Black? Yellow? Green? Red? Brown? Does any of it make sense? Indigenous? Or in the line of Pilgrims and subsequent settlers?
      The purpose of this paper was meant to offend, to disturb, to unsettle, to make fearful; was it not? Once you understand that it goes beyond the obvious, which is what we do about it once we uncover who did it and apply appropriate sanctions that might include a public apology THAT IDENTIFIES THE PERSONS AND WHAT THEIR INTENTION WAS. Time will tell.

      • Ron Mackey

        There are a number of problems going on here. First, what are the policy, procedures, rules, regulations, laws of the department and of the City? This delay would not have happened if the police department still had the “special master” but no, through an agreement they got rid of it now there’s no one watching the store.

  • Steven Auerbach

    Omg–Keith, you worked for him and your wife ran his campaign. A little harsh, no? Maybe I focused on the good he did, but I would never call Mayor Finch a racist and I do not think the minorities who supported him think so either. I guess that term minority really doesn’t apply in Bridgeport anymore. I hope they get to the bottom of this.

  • Steven Auerbach

    Isn’t it strange a racist would join the Bridgeport Police Dept? Ignorance is truly bliss!

  • Mojo

    *** All on the Finch watch, no? ***

  • Black Rockin

    Mojo,
    Common sense, as always.

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