Captain Mark Straubel, a top aide to Police Chief Armando Perez, is on administrative leave (with pay) pending assertions he wrote racist text remarks about another captain that were turned over by a former city police officer who now works for the Stratford Police Department.
Statement from Chief Perez:
“In light of the sensitive nature of the allegations, I took swift action and immediately sent the captain home and placed him on administrative leave. I am assured by the office of Internal Affairs that this matter will be fully and thoroughly investigated. If the allegations are found true and accurate, the captain will be appropriately disciplined.”
OIB has reviewed the comments in question and discussed with several former and current officers on background if the comments are consistent with Straubel’s opinions of African Americans.
In the text thread Straubel writes in an exchange with a friend:
“I asked porter if he had seen planet of the apes
He said … yes
I asked him if it made him homesick.”
Presumably, whether the conversation even took place, the remarks were about Captain Roderick Porter, the highest ranking African American in the department.
In the exchange attributed to Straubel he adds “He’s not even marching in the nigger parade but I have to,” a reference to Bridgeport’s Juneteenth Parade, a date that symbolizes the end of slavery for African Americans.
At one point in the thread Straubel’s friend writes “You need to stop drinking.”
The Connecticut Post reports, “Ken Kubel a retired Bridgeport police sergeant who now works for the Stratford Police Department, confirmed that he had made a complaint against Straubel with OIA and as part of that complaint turned over texts that he was not part of and had intercepted. He declined further comment.
Prior to the chief’s action, retired Bridgeport Police Lieutenant Ron Bailey wrote on his Facebook page:
I am so hurt and furious: What I am about to tell you is highly offensive, but you need to know. In mid-June a police officer notified Chief A.J. Perez about a captain from his office who violated some very serious moral issues. The officer then told Chief Perez that this captain had used the “N” word (spelled out) and other derogatory comments about African Americans. I have in my hands copies of what was messaged from this captain in Perez’s office and copied by the complaining officer: The Juneteenth parade was refereed to as the “N” parade, we are a cancer, and one black officer was referenced to the planet of the apes with a pic of an ape. What gets me really PISSED: Chief Perez had this information, and did nothing. He brushed off the officer’s complaint. Are you Kidding Me! To date there has been no transfer order, or any type of action even after Perez was notified by the Office of Internal Affairs as recent as last week. Chief Perez, for the good of the community, please STEP DOWN. Mayor Ganim, he’s your friend, and I get that. But if you continue with this fake chiefs’ search, you too need to be held accountable. To do nothing with something so egregious; that’s a person who has allowed hate to fester and continue. And that’s what was done, NOTHING. NO MORE EXCUSES. God help me …
Rowena White, Mayor Joe Ganim’s director of communications issued this statement:
On July 26, Chief Perez was notified by Internal Affairs that a citizen’s complaint had been filed by a retired police officer against Captain Straubel of the Bridgeport Police Department. Upon notification of the complaint, in accordance with policy and procedure, Chief Perez has relieved the captain of his duties and placed him on administrative leave pursuant to union contract. The matter is currently under investigation with Internal Affairs
“In light of the sensitive nature of the allegations, I took swift action and immediately sent the captain home and placed him on administrative leave,” Perez said Monday. “I am assured by the office of Internal Affairs that this matter will be fully and thoroughly investigated. If the allegations are found true and accurate, the captain will be appropriately disciplined.”