The Register Citizen (Torrington, CT)

Report: Office of Inspector General investigat­ing seven officer-involved shootings

- By Caroline Tien

In its first annual report, the state Office of the Inspector General has revealed the office is investigat­ing seven officer-involved shootings and 18 incustody deaths.

Released Monday afternoon, the OIG report also recommends modifying the 96-hour rule. The rule currently mandates that police agencies must release relevant bodycam footage within 96 hours, or four days, of an incident that prompts OIG involvemen­t. However, the modificati­on would allow agencies an additional 48 hours to release footage in certain cases — specifical­ly, situations “where disclosure at 96 hours would impair the investigat­ion,” according to Inspector General Robert J. Devlin Jr.

“In rare situations, the 96-hour limit poses problems – particular­ly where an involved officer is injured during the OIS incident,” Devlin said in the report. “Moreover, in cases involving multiple officers, significan­t time is required to review all camera evidence.”

The report covers the period of time between Oct. 8, 2021 and Dec. 31, 2022. In that time, the report said, the office completed investigat­ions into nine separate incidents involving police use of deadly force. In all but one of the nine cases, the office determined the use of deadly force was justified.

Seven other such incidents are still under review, according to the report. They include a shooting involving Nicholas Brutcher, a Bristol man who was fatally shot after allegedly killing two police officers in an ambush in October, and a shooting involving Nicholas Gambardell­a, a 27-year-old man who allegedly fled East Haven police officers and members of an FBI task force on Interstate 95 South in early January.

The office is also investigat­ing three deaths that occurred in the custody of a police department and 15 deaths that occurred in the custody of the state Department of Correction, according to the report.

Seventy-three deaths in DOC custody have been reported to the OIG since November 2021, the report said. Of those 73 deaths, 30 involved people on parole and were not investigat­ed by the office. Of the remaining 43 deaths, 28 were determined to stem from natural causes, 14 deaths represente­d suspected suicides or drug overdoses and one has not been categorize­d.

Between Feb. 5 and Dec. 1, 2022, eight inmates and one resident of a Bloomfield halfway house fatally overdosed, according to the report.

In all cases, the report said, the state Office of the Chief Medical Examiner ruled the overdoses were accidental. Officials are working to identify the person or persons responsibl­e for illegally supplying each inmate with drugs.

Between Nov. 10, 2021, and Dec. 13, 2022, five inmates died by suicide, according to the report.

In all cases, the report said, the manner of death was hanging.

On Dec. 29, 2022, an inmate was found unresponsi­ve in his cell at the New Haven Correction­al Center, according to the report. He died the following day, the report said. His cause of death has yet to be determined.

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