FREEDOM OF INFORMATION COMMISSION
OF THE STATE OF CONNECTICUT

In the Matter of a Complaint by FINAL DECISION

Albert Karpus,

 
  Complainant  
  against   Docket #FIC 2010-032
Chief, Police Department, City of
Bridgeport; and Police Department, City
of Bridgeport,
 
  Respondents December 15, 2010
       

 

The above-captioned matter was heard as a contested case on May 5, 2010, at which time the complainant and the respondents 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.      The respondents are public agencies within the meaning of 1-200(1), G.S.

 

2.      It is found that on January 13, 2010, the complainant requested copies of the following records:

 

a.       Lieutenant Rebeca Garcia's report of our "candid" conversation prior to my official transfer from the Office of Internal Affairs to patrol on June l6th, 2008. This report was officially submitted to Former Police Commissioner David Hall in a formal Police Commission meeting.

 

b.      A copy of the minutes of the above meeting with Former Police Commissioner David Hall, City Attorney Melanie Howlett, and Lieutenant Rebeca Garcia, relative to the above report.

 

c.       A copy of the record room request submitted to Sergeant James Kirkland regarding the detective bureau's case involving my brother's suicide, dated March 7th, 2001, titled "DOA" from Archives. This request was made on or about November 18th, 2008, by a member of the Office of Internal Affairs and/or Detective Bureau.

 

d.      A copy of the Office of Internal Affairs Case Assignment Log for the period of June 2008 through April 2009.

 

e.       Copies of any and all directives, and associated written correspondence, from Acting Chief Gaudett to Lieutenant R. Garcia and/or high ranking officer(s)
relative to my report regarding Officer Ned Love, dated Thursday, July 23rd,
2009.  This report relates Officer Ned Love's comment to Lieutenant Mark Straubel involving Captain Porter and myself on or about July 19th, 2009.

 

f.       Copies of Former Captain Leonard Samatulski's completed case regarding my report dated Wednesday, September 24th, 2008, titled, "Bad Check / Insufficient funds - Sergeant Charles Johnson - Bridgeport Police File # 080923-111." This case involves Captain Brian McCarthy, Lieutenant Brian Fitzgerald, and Officer Luis Gutierrez.

 

g.      Copies of   current Office of Internal Affairs cases and findings, along with all relative statements, regarding my complaint; including Officer Ned Love's allegation against me dated November 1, 2008.

 

h.      Written letter addressed to the Board of Police Commissioners, authored by Captain Joseph Savino (then lieutenant) on the behalf of Officer Thomas Kristy, regarding a sustained Office of Internal Affairs Case completed by Sergeant Gilberto Valentin. Officer Thomas Kristy was the subject of a Citizen Complaint for an incident that took place on Truman Street, Bridgeport. Captain Savino's letter was read aloud as part of …a scheduled Board of Police Commissioners' meeting. …Approximate time frame of incident is January — February of 2007.

 

i.        A copy of the minutes of the above meeting with the Board of Police Commissioners relative to the above written letter authored by Captain Joseph Savino (then lieutenant).

 

 

3.      By letter received and filed on January 19, 2010, the complainant appealed to this Commission, alleging that the respondents violated the Freedom of Information (“FOI”) Act by failing to provide all the records responsive to the complainant’s requests, described in paragraphs 2, above. 

 

4.      Section 1-200(5), G.S., defines “public records” as follows:

 

“Public records or files” means any recorded data or information relating to the conduct of the public's business prepared, owned, used, received or retained by a public agency, …whether such data or information be handwritten, typed, tape-recorded, printed, photostated, photographed or recorded by any other method.

 

5.      Section 1-210(a), G.S., provides, in relevant part:

 

Except as otherwise provided by any federal law or state statute, all records maintained or kept on file by any public agency, whether or not such records are required by any law or by any rule or regulation, shall be public records and every person shall have the right to… inspect such records promptly during regular office or business hours or to receive a…copy of such records in accordance with… the provisions of section 1-212.

 

6.      Section 1-212(a), G.S., provides in relevant part:  “Any person applying in writing shall receive, promptly upon request, a plain or certified copy of any public record.”

 

7.       It is concluded that the records requested by the complainant are public records within the meaning of 1-200(5), 1-210(a), and 1-212(a), G.S.

 

8.       It is found that the complainant’s request of January 13, 2010, was his second request for such records.  It is found that the complainant first requested the records described in paragraph 2.a through 2.g, above, on December 4, 2009, and first requested the records described in paragraph 2.h, above, on December 10, 2009.

 

9.      It is found that the respondents failed to respond to the complainant’s requests for records.

 

10.   With respect to the complainant’s request for records described in paragraph 2.a, b, and d, above, it is found that the complainant stated at the hearing in this matter that he was “satisfied” with the respondents’ response to his request.

 

11.   With respect to the complainant’s request for records described in paragraph 2.c, h, and i, above, it is found that the respondents do not maintain such records.

 

12.   With respect to the complainant’s request for records described in paragraph 2.e, f, and g, above, the respondents agreed at the hearing in this matter to provide such records to the complainant.

 

13.   It is found that the complainant first requested the records described in paragraph 2, above, in early December 2009, but received neither a reply nor compliance from the respondents until the date of this hearing in May 2010.

 

14.   It is found that the respondents failed to provide the records described in paragraph 2.d, above, in a prompt manner.

 

15.  It is concluded, therefore, that the respondents violated the promptness requirements of 1-210(a) and 1-212(a), G.S.

 

16.   Following the hearing in this matter, the respondents’ counsel submitted an affidavit, which has been marked as an after-filed exhibit.  On the basis of the affidavit, it is found that on October 6, 2010, the complainant and the respondents agreed on a discounted fee of $550 for the 2,600 pages of records that are responsive to the complainant’s request.

 

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

 

1.      Forthwith, the respondents shall provide copies of the records described in paragraph 2.e, f, and g, of the findings of fact.  The respondents shall charge no more than $550 for 2,600 pages of records, as described in paragraph 16 of the findings of fact.

 

2.      Henceforth, the respondents shall strictly comply with the promptness requirements of 1-210(a) and 1-212(a), G.S.

 

 

 

 

Approved by Order of the Freedom of Information Commission at its special meeting of December 15, 2010.

 

____________________________

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:

 

Albert Karpus

6 Hockanum Court

Beacon Falls, CT 06604

 

Chief, Police Department,

City of Bridgeport; and

Police Department, City of Bridgeport

C/o Betsy A. Edwards, Esq.

Office of the City Attorney

999 Broad Street

Bridgeport, CT 06604

 

 

 

 

____________________________

S. Wilson

Acting Clerk of the Commission

 

 

FIC/2010-032FD/sw/12/20/2010