© 2023 Connecticut Public

FCC Public Inspection Files:
WEDH · WEDN · WEDW · WEDY · WNPR
WPKT · WRLI-FM · WEDW-FM · Public Files Contact
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
Available On Air Stations

Death of Lauren Smith-Fields ruled an accident by state, Bridgeport police open criminal investigation

Connecticut’s chief medical examiner’s office says the death of a Black woman whose family has accused Bridgeport police of a lack of responsiveness was caused by drugs and alcohol. The office ruled the death an accident, but its determination prompted Bridgeport police to open a criminal investigation.

The medical examiner says that 23-year-old Lauren Smith-Fields died accidentally on Dec. 12 from “acute intoxication due to the combined effects of fentanyl, promethazine, hydroxyzine and alcohol.” No criminal charges have been filed.

But on Tuesday, Bridgeport police said they had opened a criminal investigation.

“Fentanyl is a strong narcotic associated with an epidemic of opioid-related overdose deaths in the United States. The City of Bridgeport is not immune to this epidemic,” police said in a statement. “As a result of the OCME’s report, the Bridgeport Police Narcotics and Vice Division have opened a criminal investigation under N.V. Case No. 22N-015. They will be assisted by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).”

The department said its “thoughts and prayers continue to be with the family and friends of Ms. Lauren Smith-Fields.”

The cause of death finding comes after Smith-Fields’ family staged a protest in front of Bridgeport Mayor Joe Ganim’s office over lack of police response.

Smith-Fields’ family says police never notified them of her death and haven’t explained why a man who called authorities to report finding her unresponsive is not a suspect.

The family has not yet returned Connecticut Public’s request for comment.

This report contains information from The Associated Press.

Updated: January 25, 2022 at 4:21 PM EST
This story has been updated.

Stand up for civility

This news story is funded in large part by Connecticut Public’s Members — listeners, viewers, and readers like you who value fact-based journalism and trustworthy information.

We hope their support inspires you to donate so that we can continue telling stories that inform, educate, and inspire you and your neighbors. As a community-supported public media service, Connecticut Public has relied on donor support for more than 50 years.

Your donation today will allow us to continue this work on your behalf. Give today at any amount and join the 50,000 members who are building a better—and more civil—Connecticut to live, work, and play.

Related Content