FREEDOM OF INFORMATION COMMISSION
OF THE STATE OF CONNECTICUT

In the Matter of a Complaint by FINAL DECISION
James H. Leonard, Jr.,  
  Complainant  
  against   Docket #FIC 2004-437
Chief, Police Department, City of New Britain,  
  Respondent April 27, 2005
       

 

The above-captioned matter was heard as a contested case on January 20, 2005, at which time the complainant and the respondent appeared, stipulated to certain facts and presented testimony, exhibits and argument on the complaint.  

After consideration of the entire record, the following facts are found and conclusions of law are reached:

1.      It is found that the respondent is a public agency within the meaning of 1-200(1), G.S.

 

2.      By letter dated September 13, 2004, the complainant made a request to the respondent for copies of records pertaining to any investigation, allegation or misconduct involving Officers Robert Remillard, Daniel Phillips, Alcides Morales, and William Chute, between August 28, 1990 and 1993.  The complainant also requested records pertaining to the manner in which the named officers severed employment with the city of New Britain’s police department.  The complainant amended his request, by an undated letter, to include a request for all records pertaining to the August 26, 2004 warrant that lead to his arrest.

 

3.      By letter dated September 27, 2004, the respondent provided the complainant with copies of the personnel action forms from the New Britain Police Department in response to the complainant’s request for records pertaining to the named individuals’ employment status.  By letter dated November 3, 2004, the respondent provided the complainant with the police application in response to this request for all records pertaining to the August 26, 2004 warrant that lead to his arrest.

 

4.      It is found that, pursuant to a prior request, the respondent provided the complainant with the personnel files of the named officers and in response to the complainant’s request for records pertaining to any investigation, allegations or misconduct, and that the respondent informed the complainant that he had no other records responsive to the complainant’s request.

 

5.      At the hearing on this matter, the complainant explained that based on certain statements made during the trial that resulted from his arrest, he believed that records existed that pertained to an investigation, allegations or misconduct of one or more of the officers.  The complainant explained that because he did not find any such records in the records previously provided by the respondent, as described in paragraph 4, above, he asked specifically for those records in his September 13, 2004 letter.  The complainant further explained that one of the named officers had been arrested and brought to trial and he thought that there should have been records pertaining that officer’s arrest.

 

6.      With respect to the statements made during the complainant’s trial, it is found that certain statements were made by the trial judge suggesting that information contained in the records of one of the named officer’s personnel file might be considered an allegation of misconduct. 

 

7.      It is found, however, that the complainant does not know what standard the trial judge used or the basis on which he made the suggestion described in paragraph 6, above, and therefore has no way of determining which record the trial judge may have been referring to and if that record was or was not provided by the respondent.

 

8.      With respect to the arrest of one of the named officers, it is found that the arrest was not made by the police department of the city of New Britain but by the state attorney’s office and records pertaining to that arrest and trial are maintained by such office. 

 

9.      It is also found that the policy of the police department of the city of New Britain precludes it from taking any action against an officer who has been arrested, including making any notation of an arrest, until all criminal proceedings regarding that arrest have concluded. 

 

10.  It is found that the arrested officer severed employment with the police department of the city of New Britain before an internal investigation could be initiated and therefore the respondent has no records pertaining to that officer’s arrest.

 

11.  It is found that there is no evidence in the record of this case that the respondent maintains any other records responsive to the complainant’s September 13, 2004, request other than those already provided to the complainant.

 

12.  It is therefore concluded that the respondent did not violate the disclosure provisions of 1-210(a) and 1-212(a), as alleged by the complainant.

 

 

The following order by the Commission is hereby recommended on the basis of the record concerning the above-captioned complaint:

 

1.      The complaint is hereby dismissed.

 

 

Approved by Order of the Freedom of Information Commission at its regular meeting of April 27, 2005.

 

________________________________

Petrea A. Jones

Acting Clerk of the Commission


PURSUANT TO SECTION 4-180(c), G.S., THE FOLLOWING ARE THE NAMES OF EACH PARTY AND THE MOST RECENT MAILING ADDRESS, PROVIDED TO THE FREEDOM OF INFORMATION COMMISSION, OF THE PARTIES OR THEIR AUTHORIZED REPRESENTATIVE.

 

THE PARTIES TO THIS CONTESTED CASE ARE:

 

James H. Leonard, Jr.

33 Ash Street

New Britain, CT 06051

 

Chief, Police Department,

City of New Britain

c/o Irena J. Urbaniak, Esq.

New Britain Corporation Counsel

27 West Main Street

New Britain, CT 06051

 

 

 

___________________________________

Petrea A. Jones

Acting Clerk of the Commission

 

 

 

FIC/2004-437FD/paj/4/28/2005