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Hartford police release internal affairs report on harassment complaint

HARTFORD -- The Hartford Police Department has released its report following an internal investigation into alleged inappropriate comments made by a supervisor, toward a female officer.

Officer Kelly Baerga was the LGBTQ liaison for the Hartford Police Department. In May 2018, she alleged that her then supervisor, Sergeant Andrew Rodney, made repeated inappropriate comments to her over an eight-month period.

Baerga accused the department of having a culture that makes many female officers feel unsafe. In one instance, Baerga accused Rodney of making a comment that she said was meant to ‘out’ her to a colleague.

“Office Baerga is extremely distraught,” said Cynthia R. Jennings, attorney for Baerga. “She wants some justice in this department about how they treat women.”

In a phone conversation with FOX61 back in February, Rodney admitted to making two specific comments that offended Baerga, but said he didn’t mean to offend.

FOX61 is mentioned in the documents released Wednesday, which read in part, “The investigation found that Sergeant Rodney did not adhere to… written ‘no contact’ order when he spoke to FOX61.”

But the comments made violated HPD’s code of conduct, according to this new report.

The investigation was delayed because some individuals were unavailable for interviews, including Baerga, according to the report.

“It was nine months before they even decided to interview her,” said Jennings. “So the question is, why did it take so long for them to interview her?”

In a statement released to FOX61, Baerga writes:

“It is absurd that Lieutenant Paul West, the only high ranking official in the Department who helped me and brought the Department's severe inaction to light on multiple occasions, would be retaliated against and threatened with discipline by the Internal Affairs Division, who was ironically under the direction of Chief Thody.

Lieutenant Paul West is the only  Commander in the entire Command Staff who cared and tried to change the culture when Chief Jason Thody, Chief David Rosado, and Chief Rafael Medina sat idly by and took no action for nine months.  If Mayor Bronin truly cares about our City, including Women, Minorities, and LGBTQ+ residents, then he will hold Chief Thody accountable for his inaction, his utter disregard for members of protected classes and for utilizing the Internal Affairs Division to clear himself of wrongdoing and place blame on the one person who helped.”

Mayor Bronin released a statement, as well:

“This investigation has substantiated allegations of behavior that is unacceptable and inconsistent with our values as a city, and there are significant disciplinary consequences on the table for both officers found to have violated the code of conduct.  We have a fundamental obligation to ensure that all of our departments are welcoming, respectful and inclusive. That means making sure that every complaint is pursued thoroughly and swiftly, and we have already taken a number of steps to improve our investigative process.  Creating a culture of zero tolerance means fostering a culture free from harassment in the first place, where colleagues don’t tolerate it in each other, where supervisors don’t tolerate it on their teams, and where nobody accepts it when they witness it.  We are committed to building that kind of environment in every single department.”

A lieutenant and a sergeant are subject to suspension and/ or demotion.

No cameras were allowed to record the chief's press briefing Wednesday.

 

 

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