The Hartford Police Union is calling on the city’s Inspector General to resign, citing its belief that he is in violation of the city’s code of ethics.
Liam Brennan was appointed to the position by Hartford mayor Luke Bronin in January of this year. In his position, Brennan works with Hartford’s Civilian Review Board to review and investigate accusations of police misconduct by residents of the city.
The union argues that Brennan has used his position to push his own political views on criminal justice issues, including pardons for marijuana possession and cutting back on traffic stops.
The union cited the following passage from the city’s ethics code in their argument: “Employees shall not identify support of or opposition to a candidate or issue with their official position or use City resources in this regard.”
Additionally, the union pointed to reporting by CII where Brennan claimed that the union was hindering his ability to conduct investigations as part of his job. Brennan told CII that the police union had barred him from asking his own independent questions during interviews with officers under investigation, despite his office believing the matter had been settled.
At the time, the union did not respond to CII’s requests for comment on the issue. In their announcement on Thursday, and in comments from the union’s legal representation, they claim that Brennan knew the union was engaged in negotiations at the time of the article to settle the matter. As a result, they believe it was disingenuous for Brennan to speak to the press while those negotiations were going on, and they claim the matter was settled a few weeks later.
Finally, the union is arguing that Brennan is exploring political office, citing reporting from the New Haven Independent that he had met with constituents about a possible run for New Haven mayor and that he had benefited financially from statements calling for “enhanced investigative efforts by the New Haven CRB” as he had served in an investigative capacity for the city in the past. CII has not independently verified whether Brennan received any financial benefit from this work, but that work was done before he was named to the Inspector General position.
In statements made after the fact, Brennan did not respond directly to the accusations made by the police union. Instead, he stood by his work and the work of the Hartford Civilian Police Review Board.
“Hartford’s Civilian Police Review Board model provides greater transparency and accountability than any other model in Connecticut. I believe New Haven and other cities would do well to use it as a template for their own systems,” he said. “For anyone investigating allegations of police misconduct, it is important to base all case findings on existing case law and policies and to strive to be diligent, fair, and thorough. The investigative reports and actions of the CPRB speak for themselves in that regard.”