FREEDOM OF INFORMATION COMMISSION
OF THE STATE OF CONNECTICUT

In the Matter of a Complaint by FINAL DECISION

Ryshon Wells,

 
  Complainant  
  against   Docket #FIC 2008-327

Chief, Police Department,

City of Bridgeport,

 
  Respondent April 22, 2009
       

 

The above-captioned matter was heard as a contested case on September 19, 2008, at which time the complainant and the respondent appeared, stipulated to certain facts and presented testimony, exhibits and argument on the complaint.  For purposes of hearing, the above-captioned matter was consolidated with Docket #FIC 2008-374; Ryshon Wells v. Commissioner, State of Connecticut, Department of Correction; and State of Connecticut, Department of Correction.

 

The complainant, who is incarcerated, appeared via teleconference, pursuant to the January 2004 memorandum of understanding between the Commission and the Department of Correction.  See Docket No. CV 03-0826293, Anthony Sinchak v. FOIC et al, Superior Court, J.D. of Hartford at Hartford, Corrected Order dated January 27, 2004 (Sheldon, J.).

 

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

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

 

2.      By letter dated May 1, 2008 and filed on May 5, 2008, the complainant filed a complaint with this Commission alleging that the respondent violated the Freedom of Information (“FOI”) Act by failing to comply with the Commission’s order in the Matter of a Complaint by Ryshon Wells against Chief, Police Department, City of Bridgeport, Docket #FIC 2006-639 (hereinafter “Docket #FIC 2006-639”). 

 

3.      The Commission takes administrative notice of its record and final decision in Docket #FIC 2006-639, the notice of which final decision was issued on October 10, 2007.  Specifically, the Commission takes administrative notice of paragraphs 2, 3, and 4 of that final decision which describe the records requested by the complainant as follows:

 

2. It is found that by letter dated November 20, 2006, the complainant made a request to the respondent for a copy of the following:

 

a.  ‘Luis Rivera, D.O.B. 5/17/83, written/oral statement, Incid. no 060326-174, Date 3/26/06, Invest. no 05d451;’

b.   ‘Benito Rivera, D.O.B. 9/24/81, written/oral statement, Date 3/26/06, Incid. no. 060326-174, Invest. no 05d451;’

c.     ‘Samuel Salicrup, written/oral statement, Date 3/26/06, Incid. no. 060326-174, Invest. no 05d451;’

d.    ‘Pedro Feliciano, written/oral statement, Date 3/26/06, Incid. no. 060326-174, Invest. no 05d451;’

e.     ‘Dispatch recording, Date 3/26/06, time 1524 hours, Incid. no. 060326-174, Invest. no 05d451;’

f.       ‘Bridgeport Police Officer Laricca, incident report no. 060326-174;’

 

3. It is found that, by letter dated November 20, 2006, the complainant made a request to the respondent for a copy of the following:

 

a.  ‘Sergeant Strauble’s supplemental report and color photo a-ray use/made in investigation, incident no. 060326-174;’

b.  ‘Sergeant Lougal’s supplemental report and color photo a-ray use/made in investigation, incident no. 060326-174;’

c.    ‘Detective Grasso’s supplemental report and color photo a-ray use/made in investigation, incident no. 060326-174;’

d.    ‘Detective Lemelin’s supplemental report and color photo a-ray use/made in investigation, incident no. 060326-174;’

e.      ‘Detective Fiumidinisi’s supplemental report and color photo a-ray use/made in investigation, incident no. 060326-174;’ and

f.       ‘any other photo’s used during the investigation to identify suspect in incident no. 060326-174;’ 

 

4. It is found that, by letter dated November 20, 2006, the complainant made a request to the respondent for a copy of the following:

 

a. ‘description of physical evidence, receipt no: 06m391, 06m392, 06cg195, Incid. no. 060326-174, Invest. no 05d45;’

b.      ‘Bridgeport police officer Orbegozo, related incident report case no. file 060326-198;’

c.       ‘Bridgeport police officer Parker, related incident report case no. file 060326-198;’

d.      ‘Detective Tenn supplemental report, incident report case no. file 060326-198;’

e.       ‘A.T.F. Task force Detective Dowling supplemental report, incident report case no. file 060326-198;’ and

f.        ‘Bridgeport police department, “Collective of Evidence Manual.’

 

4.      The Commission takes administrative notice of the order in Docket #FIC 2006-639 which states in relevant part that:

Forthwith, the respondent shall provide the complainant with a copy of the requested records described in paragraphs 2, 3, and 4, of the findings above, free of charge.

5.       It is found that the respondent filed an administrative appeal in Superior Court to appeal the Commission’s final decision and order in Docket #FIC 2006-639; however, on or about April 2, 2008, the respondent withdrew that appeal.

 

6.      It is found that by letter dated April 28, 2008, the complainant was provided with a redacted copy of records responsive to his records request.

 

7.      At the hearing on this matter, the respondent claimed that the redactions were made pursuant to 1-210(b)(3)and 54-82t(j), G.S.

 

8.      It is found that based upon the record in Docket #FIC 2006-639, the redactions made by the respondent to the records provided to the complainant on April 28, 2008 were entirely inappropriate. 

 

9.      It is found, therefore, that the respondent initially failed to comply with the Commission’s order in Docket #FIC 2006-639.

 

10.   It is found, however, that by letter dated May 19, 2008 the complainant was provided with an unredacted copy of the records responsive to his records request, with the exception of one document, a property receipt numbered 391, which, at the hearing on this matter, the respondent agreed to provide to the complainant forthwith.

 

11.   It is concluded that the respondent violated the FOI Act by failing to promptly comply with the Commission’s orders in Docket #FIC 2006-639.

 

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

 

1.       Henceforth, the respondent shall strictly comply with the promptness provisions of the FOI Act.

 

2.      The respondent is advised that 1-240(b), G.S., provides that: “[A]ny member of any public agency who fails to comply with an order of the Freedom of Information Commission shall be guilty of a class B misdemeanor and each occurrence of failure to comply with such order shall constitute a separate offense.”

 

 

 

Approved by Order of the Freedom of Information Commission at its regular meeting of April 22, 2009.

 

 

____________________________

S. Wilson

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:

 

Ryshon Wells #292862  

Northern C I

287 Bilton Road

P.O. Box 665

Somers, CT 06071

 

Chief, Police Department,

City of Bridgeport

C/o Melanie Howlett, Esq.

Associate City Attorney

Office of the City Attorney

City of Bridgeport

999 Broad Street

Bridgeport, CT 06604

 

 

 

____________________________

S. Wilson

Acting Clerk of the Commission

 

 

FIC/2008-327FD/sw/4/29/2009