Bridgeport Police will conduct an internal investigation after complaints from a dead woman's family
The mayor of Bridgeport today responded to complaints about the police investigation into the death of a Norwalk Community College student, by announcing an internal investigation.
Mayor Joe Ganim's statement comes a day after demonstrators marched from the police department to the mayor's office.
The protesters called on police to reach a resolution in the investigation into the death of Lauren Smith-Fields.
Hearst Connecticut reports that the Bridgeport resident's family has a lawyer, and intends to sue the Bridgeport Police Department over their handling of the case.
A lawyer for Smith-Fields' family said police were racially insensitive to her family.
In a statement, Ganim said the issue has been referred to the police department's internal affairs office for an review.
"I share concerns echoed by many about the amount of time and manner a family is informed of a loss," Ganim wrote. "Death notifications should be done in a manner that illustrates dignity for the deceased and respect and compassion for the family. Therefore, I will work with the Chief of Police to make appropriate changes here in Bridgeport now for our department’s policies and practices regarding notifying family members of a death."
Ganim says he also supports possible state legislation on notification of victims' relatives.
Police say their investigation into the death remains active.
Detectives were waiting for autopsy results for the 23-year-old Smith-Fields.
The mayor said he asked the chief state medical examiner to move quickly.
Some of Smith-Fields' relatives said the police failed to inform them after she died on December 12.
They say they want an independent investigation of their loved one's death, and an internal affairs review into how police handled the investigation.
They are seeking a legal requirement for police to tell families more quickly, after an untimely death.