Category Archives: crime

A kid, an off-duty cop, and a community’s outrage

henry dangA few days ago, I wrote about teen Henry Dang’s tragic death and disturbing details about the actions of the off-duty cop who hit him and others on the Windsor Locks police force.

This case continues to unfold. Initially, the off-duty cop’s lawyer stated his client hadn’t been drinking. This assertion is clearly disputed by witness accounts and tavern surveillance video.

Now, the Hartford Courant is reporting the off-duty cop’s lawyer has said the accident was “unavoidable” and that whether (the off-duty cop) was intoxicated or not was irrelevant.

Really? I wonder how well that rationale will work for other drivers stopped for driving while impaired. Is the fact that State Police investigators determined the off-duty cop was driving 73mph, over twice the posted 35mph speed limit,  irrelevant? How does this assertion reconcile with the fact that a witness driving the opposite direction on the same street at the time, was able to see Henry on his bike, and then heard the collision?

During the off-duty cop’s initial court appearance today, “Not Guilty” pleas were entered, as well as request for a jury trial. These pleas seem routine, and it’s difficult to see how the abundance of evidence uncovered by the State Police outlined in the arrest warrant can be ignored once the case goes to trial.

According to the Hartford Courant, , the case has been assigned to Judge David P. Gold. From the Courant: Gold [ ] handles the most serious crimes in the Hartford Judicial District. Most defendants are arraigned in a lower court and then Gold reviews the cases and decides whether to advance them to the more serious docket. But the seriousness of the case propelled it immediately to Gold’s courtroom.

This case is reminiscent of the recent Hayes trial in the way the community has responded with intense passion. News videos feature comments from community members questioning why the off-duty cop was treated differently by police than other drivers.

Online articles posted by news outlets like the Hartford Courant and WTNH receive hundreds of comments questioning the actions of the off-duty cop and decrying suspected cover-up by the Windsor Locks PD.

The online comments are intelligent and thought provoking. Here are excerpts from just a few:

A new police candidate who admits to abusing drugs or alcohol or worse, driving impaired is disqualified from the process. There are certain actions that are auto DQ such as domestic violence, drug sales, or other acts that would reflect a negative image. During the interview process you are questioned on situations where your actions could be compromised. This event is text book on what not to do. (Excerpt from comment posted by West Haven Drunk Cop @ wtnh.com)

If the public sees this case as more than just great blog material we MUST stay with this story until the very end. Why? Because the defense is already setting up the playing board so that his client will suffer as little damage as possible when this is said and done. (Excerpt from comment posted by Chucky @ wtnh.com)

I guess that’s why I’m blogging about this tragic story. I can’t do anything to help bring Henry back, but I can blog in an effort to ensure his story doesn’t fade away.

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