Category Archives: Crime

Crash Victim Hires Attorney

by Categorized: City Hall, Crime, Police Date:

Caitlin Greenbaum, who was in the vehicle that collided with former Deputy Public Works Director Rhonda Moniz-Carroll’s car Saturday night, has hired an attorney.

Police have said Moniz-Carroll was driving drunk and veered into another lane, striking another car. Sources identified the driver of the other car as Greenbaum.

Greenbaum’s attorney, John R. Logan of Torrington, sent a letter to Corporation Counsel Saundra Kee Borges and Town and City Clerk John Bazzano Friday requesting that “the appropriate risk manager or insurance representative” for the city contact him. He asked that city officials deal with him directly and avoid contact with Greenbaum.

Greenbaum, of Hartford, was taken to St. Francis Hospital and Medical Center for treatment of an ankle injury and a concussion Saturday.

Moniz-Carroll was driving a city-owned 2012 Ford Escape south on Prospect Avenue Saturday night and crossed into another lane, colliding with a 2006 Nissan Altima headed south, according to a police report. Both cars were damaged in the crash.

Moniz-Carroll was charged with driving while intoxicated and failure to drive in a proper lane. She was fired from her city job Monday.

You can read about her arraignment Friday here.

To read Logan’s letter to the city, click here: Letter to city

BID To Segarra: Shut Down Club

by Categorized: Business, Crime, Development, Pedro Segarra, Planning, Police Date:

Another fatal shooting occurred early Friday outside the Up Or On The Rocks nightclub (50 Union Place), prompting a temporary closure of the club.

Mayor Pedro Segarra has called for more police in bars and a change to a state law allowing 18-and-over parties in nightclubs. Up Or On The Rocks, which frequently hosts 18-and-over events, has agreed to close temporarily until a security plan is in place. The owner, Jerry Fornarelli, could not be reached for comment.

Friday’s incident was the second shooting death in August stemming from an altercation that began in the club, police said. On Aug. 4, Brian Simpe of Manchester was killed during a fight that started inside Up Or On the Rocks and spilled onto the street after the club closed.

Now, Michael Zaleski, head of the Hartford Business Improvement District, wants the establishment shut down for good.

He sent a letter to Segarra Friday calling for the permanent closure of Up Or On The Rocks, saying the club is ruining efforts to revitalize the city’s downtown.

“Perception and reality of the downtown are critical,” Zaleski wrote. “Thousands of dollars have been invested to try to change people’s perceptions of the city. We need people to be able to feel safe in the entertainment district. These types of incidents can’t continue to happen.”

You can read Zaleski’s letter here: HBID – Close Up or On the Rocks

What do you think? Should Up Or On The Rocks be shut down permanently, or should a better security plan be tested out first?

Segarra Rejects Some Council Budget Amendments

by Categorized: Budget, City Council, Crime, Furloughs, Pedro Segarra, Police, Shawn Wooden Date:

Mayor Pedro Segarra on Thursday rejected some of the $8.6 million in budget cuts made by the city council earlier this week, saying he would approve about $3.9 million in additional cuts. He originally had proposed a $543.9 million spending plan.

Segarra said he would maintain a $1 million cut to the proposed police department budget; the council had approved a $2 million cut to police. The mayor also vetoed a plan that would require all non-union city employees to take progressive furlough days, meaning the higher someone’s pay scale, the more furlough days he or she would have to take.

You can view Segarra’s full budget message here: 5.23.13 PES FY 13-14 Budget Response Message

Council President Shawn Wooden did not immediately return a call seeking comment this morning. We’ll have more on this on the Hartford Town Page later today.

You can also view the mayor’s press release below:

MAYOR SEGARRA RESPONDS TO CITY COUNCIL’S PROPOSED BUDGET CUTS

 

— NEWS AND COMMUNITY STATEMENT—

 

(May 23, 2013) – Today, Mayor Pedro E. Segarra filed a response to City Council’s recommended budget cuts and made the following statement: 

 

”What I submitted to Council today represents the compromise necessary to keep City services and public safety in tact in the way our constituents need and deserve. Council proposed $8.6 million in additional cuts but did not factor in attrition therefore the total reduction is approximately $7 million. I am proposing a net decrease of approximately $3.9 million for a total spending reduction of over $50 million dollars for FY13/14. Accordingly, the anticipated drawdown balance of the Fund Balance will be approximately $9.7 million dollars (a reduction of $3.87 million dollars and will leave a fund balance of approximately $16 million dollars).  As promised, there will be no mill rate increase. The proposed modifications were done in consultation with my finance team and reviewed by Special Assistant Al Ilg.

 

“I have heard over and over from residents that public safety is critically important. And I have been very clear that in balancing the budget, I will not jeopardize the security of our city. Economic growth, a thriving entertainment district, developing our population is entirely contingent upon Hartford being safe. This year, we had no gun violence until mid-March – something that had not occurred in 30 years- and through the funding of new police efforts we attained a 35% reduction in homicides.  While we cannot eliminate all violence, we can’t go backwards. There is simply no compromise to be made when it comes to the safety of our residents.

 

“While it is entirely appropriate for Council to make additional cuts there are some areas that would jeopardize the overall health and development of our City.  Details exist in the formal response, but the main changes I propose are:

 

                 A $1MM reduction to the Police Department instead of $2MM. Two million along with additional cuts to special events overtime would mean less police presence in all neighborhoods and minimum to no presence for special events. It prevents the hiring of a new police class, forces the elimination of the mounted patrol and results in job loss for many Hartford residents. It will risk us having to return millions in federal grants, effects future funding and will ultimately result in increased overtime.  For many of the same reasons, I have reduced the proposed cuts to the fire department.

                 No additional Departmental cuts or staff reductions. The furlough days proposed is unprecedented. We are already eliminating a substantial number of vacant positions, including non-bargaining unit employees referred to in Resolution #6, and asking all employees for $3MM in concessions.

                 A $150,000 cut to Human Resources instead of $500,000. The Human Resources Department is mandatory and essential and this cut, in addition to the elimination of unfilled positions, would leave the City of Hartford without a functional department.

 

I share Council’s concern about the importance Fund Balance; one of the reasons I worked hard to increase it by over $8MM during my tenure. These modifications are responsible and will not harm the delivery of services or the quality of life of residents and visitors. Hartford, like all cities, has been doing more with less and yet given that reality we’ve accomplished new growth in the last three years that  includes a financial surplus, new business development and an increase in the Fund Balance. We should be proud that we’ve been able to do what others haven’t in difficult financial times.  I look forward to working with Council to strengthen the City’s finances and meeting the challenges that lie ahead.”

 

Attached is a copy of Mayor Segarra’s response filed with the Town Clerk.

 

###

 

Cuts To Police: What’s At Stake

by Categorized: Budget, City Council, Crime, Pedro Segarra, Police Date:

The city council on Monday cut $8.6 million from Mayor Pedro’s Segarra’s $543.9 million spending plan, including a $2 million reduction to the police department budget.

Segarra’s plan increased the amount the department would receive next year by about $3 million. He said during his budget address that public safety continues to be a priority for his administration, and the increase would (at least in part) help support the hiring of 30 new recruits. The recruit class was expected to begin work with the city in January 2014.

Segarra has said the increase is also necessary to preserve crucial services, keep crime down and maintain good standing with federal grant requirements.

In reducing the police department budget, the council recommended that the following be eliminated:

* The mounted patrol division

* The positions of assistant chief and administrative assistant

* Three police cadet positions

The council also suggested that the department’s human resources and fiscal management offices be merged with city’s hall’s HR and fiscal management offices, so as not to duplicate efforts.

Council members have expressed concern over taking $13.5 million from the city’s rainy day fund to help balance the budget, as Segarra’s proposal does. The $8.6 million in cuts were meant to offset some of that, they said.

Segarra Warns Council Before Budget Cuts

by Categorized: Budget, City Council, Crime, Fire, Neighborhoods, Pedro Segarra, Police, Spending Date:

Mayor Pedro Segarra has not yet said whether he will veto any of the amendments the council made last night to his $543.9 million budget proposal, but he issued a warning to the council just before members began making cutbacks.

Segarra urged council members not to reduce spending in the area of public safety. Segarra’s proposed budget called for a roughly $3 million increase to the police department budget next year. The council went on to cut that by $2 million.

“The … reduction would force us to reduce our to the police department,” Segarra told the council. “We must maintain 481 police officers, however, 22 are paid through COPS grant a federal grant. The cuts put us in jeopardy of having to repay funds received for grants noted above, not to mention makes us ineligible to apply for other new funding.”

The panel also cut the fire department budget by $1 million.

Here’s a copy of Segarra’s full remarks to the council before their session last night (Text provided by the mayor’s office):

——————————————————————————————————

“When I drafted this budget along with input from City Council, all departments, the Treasurer, the community, our residents and businesses there were three non-negotiable items I heard loud and clear; (1)Our constituents would not tolerate any further cuts to essential city services (2)Businesses and residents could not afford an increase in our mill rate (3)Under no circumstances should we jeopardize the safety of our city

Through several regular conversations with Council, they made it very clear they were concerned about spending.

We started out this FY with a projected $70MM deficit- widely publicized- primarily a result of pensions and healthcare costs.

So my recommended budget took all of these critical factors into account.

We cut $47MM in spending, including cuts to 15 departments and average of $529 per department. We significantly delayed hiring for vacant positions. I requested $3MM in employee concessions, not my preference but a more sound alternative than to lay off employees during these already difficult economic times

This was accomplished without the reduction of essential city service and keeping our mill rate flat.

We did this with an anticipated $13MM drawn down from the Fund balance or Rainy Day Fund. This fund, which I have steadily increased during my tenure, still remains the highest of any major city in CT.

I urge City Council not to reduce the budget item charges that relate to our public safety in excess of what I offered as a compromise.

I want to be clear, since the inception of the STF in 2011 and other efforts, we have seen a 35% reduction in homicides and assaults with a gun. We have seen a 3.5% reduction in Part 1 crimes. Recently we’ve had a spike in crime that accompanies warmer weather but is also a result of a decrease in OT.

The suggested $2.4MM reduction would force us to reduce our to the police department. We must maintain 481 police officers, however, 22 are paid through COPS grant a federal grant. The cuts put us in jeopardy of having to repay funds received for grants noted above, not to mention makes us ineligible to apply for other new funding.

 Now, we’ve been through tough fiscal times before. I know the Council and I agree on the most fundamental premise, we want what is best for the City of Hartford. We do not want to burden our residents, our businesses and we want a safe city that progresses.

We cannot compromise the safety of our City. We cannot compromise the health of our city. We can’t let our streets and parks become neglected.

I know we’ll figure out the best solution without compromising the progress we have worked so hard to achieve over the last few years.”

Gun Buy-Back Nets More Than 82 Firearms

by Categorized: Crime, Neighborhoods, Police Date:

The city’s latest gun buy-back program, held Saturday at the Community Renewal Team headquarters on Windsor Street, brought in more than 82 firearms, police said.

Among the guns collected were two derringers, 16 pistols, 32 rifles, 16 shotguns and one assault rifle. In exchange for the guns, Stop & Shop gift cards were distributed. Organizers offered a $150 gift card for an assault rifle, $75 gift card for a handgun and $25 gift card for a shotgun or rifle.

The program, in its fifth year, began with a push from Connecticut Children’s Medical Center, Hartford Hospital and St. Francis Hospital and Medical Center, where physicians viewed the deaths from accidental shootings, youth suicide and street gunfire as a public health crisis. Guns not safely stored can end up in the wrong hands, they said.

Two more gun buy-backs are planned for August and December.

To view the police department’s press release about the results of Saturday’s collection, click here: 2013_05_18_CRGBBP_PressRelease_JWK Edits

Faith-Based Initiative Is Saturday

by Categorized: Crime, Faith-Based Community, Police Date:

City leaders are hosting a meeting Saturday as part of their ongoing faith-based initiative.

The meetings are designed to bring law enforcement officials, the city council and the faith-based community, among others, together to address city violence.

The meeting will be held from 9 a.m. to noon at the Hartford Public Safety Complex, 253 High St. It will feature a presentation by Assistant U.S. State’s Attorney Keith king on Project Longevity, an initiative aimed at building a partnership between community members, service organizations and law enforcement to deter homicides and shootings.

You can read more about the meeting here: Invite Letter- Faith-Based Anti-Violence Initiative

 

‘Today Is An Historic Day’

by Categorized: Crime, Pedro Segarra Date:

Minutes after Gov. Dannel P. Malloy signed Connecticut’s expansive gun control bill, Mayor Pedro Segarra issued this statement.

Today is an historic day for the State of Connecticut. Our legislature has shown extraordinary leadership by passing a bill that includes a ban on high capacity magazines, increased access to mental health services, strengthens school safety and imposes universal background checks. By demonstrating willingness to compromise the legislature achieved comprehensive bi-partisan legislation that pays tribute to the innocent lives that were lost in Newtown and the victims of gun violence in all cities and towns across the country. I also applaud Governor Malloy and the people in our State for demanding action and playing a critical role in getting this done. We have proven today that you can achieve consensus and move beyond the partisan bickering to effect real change.

Segarra sat in the front row during the noon ceremony at the state Capitol. (The mayor was on MSNBC yesterday to discuss gun laws.)

Today would have been Newtown victim Ana Grace Marquez-Greene’s 7th birthday. Ana was born in Hartford, where her family has strong ties.

City’s 4th Homicide: Jimmy Roberson, 22

by Categorized: Crime, Neighborhoods, Police Date:

As we reported Monday, Jimmy Q. Roberson was identified as the 22-year-old man fatally shot Sunday night, concluding a violent week in the city’s North End in which four other young men were shot. (Two of them died.)  Police found Roberson with a single gunshot wound to the head behind an apartment building at the corner of Barbour and Nelson streets.

Jimmy’s father, James Roberson, is an evangelist at Christ Tabernacle Ministries at Main Street after turning his own life around. When Jimmy recently got out of prison, Roberson told me that he sat his son down for a long talk at the church.

Jimmy, who got his GED while incarcerated, told him he wanted to “give his life over to the Lord,” Roberson said. Read the full story here.

Roberson believes a major factor in the cycle of violence is that young people have no respect for themselves. Thus, they have no respect for other human life.

“It’s time for this to stop,” Roberson said.

Mothers United Against Violence has planned a vigil for 5:30 p.m. Wednesday at the scene. James Roberson said Monday that he wants to hold a memorial service at the church.

Police are looking for any leads. If you have information, call Lt. Brian Foley at 860-757-4463 or foleb001@hartford.gov. For anonymous tips: Crime Stoppers at 860-722-8477 or this online site.

Jimmy Q. Roberson, 22, was found in the rear parking lot of this building at 91 Barbour St., police said. Photo by Vanessa de la Torre.

Jimmy Q. Roberson, 22, was found behind 91 Barbour St. Photo by Vanessa de la Torre.

Vigil Thursday For Homicide Victims

by Categorized: Crime, Police Date:

The Rev. Henry Brown and Mothers United Against Violence will host a vigil Thursday for the two men fatally shot in Hartford earlier this week.

The vigil will begin at 5:30 p.m. at the intersection of Clark and Nelson streets.

Gunfire broke out around 5:04 p.m. Monday in the area of Clark and Nelson streets, our colleague, Hilda Munoz, has reported. Kwante Feliciano, 19, was shot in the chest and died shortly after, police said. Kelly Cooper, 30, was pronounced dead Tuesday at 11:45 a.m. He had been in critical condition at St. Francis Hospital and Medical Center with a gunshot wound to the head.

Police said the men were found outdoors in two locations: one at 138 Clark St. and the other at 124 Clark St. Both were taken to the hospital in private vehicles. Authorities are seeking information to help identify the shooter.

Anyone with information about Monday’s shooting is asked to call Sgt. Brandon O’Brien at 860-757-4089 or the Crime Stoppers tip line at 860-722-8477. Callers will remain anonymous. Tips can also be submitted online at http://www.hartfordcrimestoppers.com.

From the Mothers United Against Violence Facebook Page:

“At the request of the families of those recently killed in our city, Mothers United Against Violence will hold a vigil tomorrow evening, March 28th, at 5:30, at the corner of Clark and Nelson in Hartford, near the scene of the homicides of Kwante Feliciano and Kelly Cooper last Monday.
Before this incident, there had not been a gun violence homicide in 77 days in Hartford–the longest hiatus in gun violence crime since 2005. The public is invited to take part in solidarity with the neighborhood.”