|State Police Sergeant Andrew Crumbie was recently replaced as head of the forensics lab.|
NAACP asks for US probe of racist e-mails
Sent to Conn. troopers, staff
HARTFORD -- The state chapter of the NAACP called yesterday for a federal investigation of the Connecticut State Police and possible civil rights violations following the discovery of racially offensive e-mails sent to some troopers and staff members.
State Police announced this week that they have opened an internal investigation into the e-mails, which were sent to the director of the state forensics lab and employees he oversees, including troopers and civilians.
A photograph and video were e-mailed from a private account to other private accounts in February. The photo is of a black man lying on a street surrounded by pieces of watermelon and a bucket of chicken, while the video shows a young white girl repeating racial slurs with the encouragement of off-camera adults.
The materials, which surfaced Tuesday, were distributed about a week after Sergeant Andrew Crumbie was replaced as head of the lab by Lieutenant David Rice. Crumbie, who is black, has alleged that racial discrimination was behind the decision to replace him with Rice, who is white.
"When Andrew Crumbie first stated that racism was at the root of his demotion, people tuned a deaf ear," said Scot X. Esdaile, president of the state conference of the NAACP. "I think the release of these e-mails has made it clear: It's time to start listening and demanding answers."
Public Safety Commissioner John A. Danaher III ordered the investigation after learning about the e-mails Tuesday. Lieutenant J. Paul Vance, a State Police spokesman, said Wednesday that although the e-mails were sent using private e-mail, the internal investigation will determine whether any department policies or regulations were violated.
"We do hold our troopers to a very high standard," Vance said. "Troopers are expected to behave and be on their best behavior 24 hours a day."