Federal Court Lifts Police Remedy Order

U.S. District Court Judge Janet Bond Arterton today announced from the bench that she will terminate the federal court’s 27-year oversight of the Bridgeport Police Department.

In 1983 Judge T.F. Gilroy Daly issued a remedy order to resolve racial discrimination in the Bridgeport Police Department following a federal complaint filed by the local chapter of the Guardians, a national organization that specializes in battling for minority police officers’ civil rights. Daly assigned a special master to oversee his order that created balance in assignments, promotions, dispute resolution, etc. Critics of the remedy said that Daly’s order went too far and handcuffed police officials by coloring every decision.

Arterton announced in 2009 that she would completely lift the remedy order if the city continued to show progress through 2010. The order includes restoring assignment powers to the chief and senior officers. Arterton said she’ll issue a formal written decision soon.

Police Chief Joe Gaudett, lawyers from the City Attorney’s Office and representatives of the Guardians attended the hearing before Judge Arterton in New Haven including Ted Meekins who was president of the Bridgeport Guardians in 1983 and led the fight for increased minority representation. Betsy Edwards, a lawyer for the City Attorney’s Office, represented the city’s court motion to terminate the remedy order. It was not opposed by the Guardians.

From Mayor Finch:

U.S. District Court Judge Brings End to Decades-Long Special Master

Guardians Case To Come to An End

“Today is a historic day for the City of Bridgeport, its Police Department and all its citizens as a result of the appointment of Joseph Gaudett, Jr. as Chief of Police.

“Today is also a historic day for all Bridgeporters for a separate but related reason. At a hearing held this morning in New Haven federal court, U.S. District Court Judge Janet Bond Arterton announced from the bench that she will be issuing a written decision before the end of the calendar year related to the special master oversight of the Bridgeport Guardians lawsuit.

“Judge Arterton informed counsel that her ruling will end the federal court’s nearly three- decade-long judicial oversight of the Bridgeport Police Department by vacating the Remedy Order entered in the Bridgeport Guardians lawsuit issued by Judge T. F. Gilroy Daly in 1983, and all related court orders.

“In her statement today, Judge Arterton praised the significantly changed structure, operations, and culture within the Bridgeport Police Department. Judge Arterton stated her pleasure in being able to return full control of departmental assignments and discipline back to the Department. Most significantly, the Judge acknowledged the effective leadership of Chief Gaudett in his capacity as Acting Police Chief over the past two plus years, and stated her confidence in the continuing leadership of Chief Gaudett and Assistant Chief Kerwin, both of whom were present in the courtroom today.

“As Mayor, I could not be more proud of my appointee, Chief Joseph Gaudett. The Department and all Bridgeporters owe the Chief a debt of gratitude, as his accomplishments and his continuing presence have undoubtedly expedited the Court’s conclusion of this long chapter in Bridgeport history.

“As Mayor, I would also like to take this opportunity to thank those other parties who played major roles in the Court reaching its decision that Bridgeport had earned the right to operate independently of Court oversight and supervision. Special appreciation goes to: Judge Janet Bond Arterton; the Bridgeport Guardians, Inc.; that organization’s legal counsel, Koskoff, Koskoff & Bieder; and the Bridgeport Police Union, AFSCME Local 1159.

“Finally, I would like to note that today’s announcement is a testament to the excellent in-house legal work by my City Attorney’s Office. When I took office three years ago, I directed that to the degree possible, legal work would be conducted by our in-house attorneys. The City Attorney’s staff, and particularly Associate City Attorney Betsy Edwards and Deputy City Attorney Arthur Laske have performed admirably in pursuing the necessary court filings that culminated in today’s historic Court announcement.”



  1. Dear OIB friends, I know this is very last minute, but I just heard that Mary Himes is collecting toys for a shelter in Bridgeport that houses many homeless mothers, women who don’t have enough money to buy their child(ren) any Christmas presents whatsoever. If you might, please consider donating a new toy or doll, a child’s game or sports equipment (like a bounce ball or baseball and glove). Although there is a wide range of ages, most of the shelter’s clients have children between 8-14 years old. The toys should be unwrapped and can be dropped off at Congressman Himes’s office at 211 State St. by 3pm on Tuesday. If you are interested in knowing more about the Prospect House shelter, here’s info:

    Prospect House, a division of Regional Network of Programs, Inc. (RNP), provides emergency shelter to thirty-two adults on a daily basis. Prospect House provides comprehensive case management services to meet the varied and complex needs of individuals who are homeless. The case management program at Prospect House includes assessment, transportation, life skills training, individual, group and family work.
    Prospect House is also able to offer free medical services through a collaborative relationship with Southwest Community Health Center. In addition, psychiatric and substance abuse assessment services are provided on site.

    I know this is very last minute, but if you are out and about in downtown, please help.

  2. Let’s end affirmative action today!

    Now that a judge has promised to lift a 27-year oversight rule designed to improve minority representation and now that we have a black President, Local Eyes thinks it’s time to end all minority programs.


    Answer: Minorities no longer exist. Things have changed. Only racists let race interfere with opportunity. The scales have been balanced and now it’s time to return to genuine free enterprise. Affirmative action is something I’ve overcome. Let’s make it official.

    Minority bloggers: I’ve been waiting since July 30, 1965, when a history-making event occurred.

  3. This story reminds me of 333 State St. whenever Fabrizi needed a PR hit in a down cycle he always announced something new about 333. They closed the deal, they got a check, they deposited the check, the check didn’t bounce, yadda, yadda, yadda.
    The same with the special master. Enough already. And Finch is giving credit to Gaudett? And giving credit to the city attorney’s office. And giving credit to Art Laske. And giving credit to Judge Arterton. Give it a break. This is old news even on the slowest of days.

  4. *** Wow, the present chief, Mayor’s admin. and Bpt police union have all contributed to ending the 27-year minority police oversight? *** The more things change, the more they stay the same! ***

  5. Thanks to the Bridgeport 9! What many tried and were unable to correct for many years the BPT 9 decided to forgo the the task and make many sacrifices for further law enforcement officers! It’s these 9 that should be thanked!!! They are the ones who made this possible. They are the ones that should be acknowledged for making this possible!

  6. Memo to Bob Walsh; yesterday you stated that the settlement with the administrators union was better than rolling the dice in arbitration. Let me quote what was said by the president of the teachers union who just took a stipulated judgment with the city.
    I quote “A town’s ability to pay is a priority factor to be considered by the arbitrators when settling a dispute. Your negotiating team felt that economic factors in Bridgeport were such that this settlement was likely better than anything attainable by rolling the dice in arbitration.”
    The teachers settled for 3 years 0% the first year, 1.95% the second year and 2.795% the third year. The teachers also agreed to increase their medical care policy from 14% to 17%.
    You see Bob instead of wringing their hands the council should have grown a spine and said NO instead of waving that all too famous we could lose in arbitration. Pure Bullshit from a bunch that does not care for anything but themselves.


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