Prosecutor under scrutiny withdraws bid for reappointment

Prosecutor under scrutiny withdraws bid for reappointment

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — A top Connecticut prosecutor on Monday withdrew her application for reappointment after being suspended and publicly criticized for taking years to issue formal reports on whether police were justified in four fatal shootings.

The withdrawal by Hartford State’s Attorney Gail Hardy came moments before the state Criminal Justice Commission was to vote on her reappointment after hearing from members of the public who both praised and criticized her.

Hardy, Connecticut’s first Black state’s attorney, completed a four-day, unpaid suspension last week over the four reports. The discipline imposed by the commission was the first suspension of a state’s attorney in Connecticut.

Hardy’s term is to end Tuesday, but she will stay in the position until the commission hires her successor, said state Supreme Court Justice Andrew McDonald, chairman of the commission.

The state chapters of the NAACP and American Civil Liberties Union opposed Hardy’s reappointment, while pastors and other community leaders said she deserved another term.

The four reports in question involved the the deaths of Ernesto Morales in Hartford on July 11, 2012; Edmanuel Reyes in Manchester on May 19, 2011; Taurean Wilson in East Hartford on Jan. 1, 2009; and Joseph Bak in Hartford on March 3, 2008.

Hardy, who became Hartford state’s attorney in 2007 after serving as a prosecutor for 11 years in Waterbury, finally released the reports in December, two months after The Hartford Courant first reported they had not been completed. All the officers were found to be justified in the killings.

Hardy said the four investigations were completed in a timely fashion, as were her decisions that all the officers were justified, but she just had not completed the formal reports.

Asked why the reports took so long, Hardy has said her office — which prosecutes crimes committed in Hartford and 18 surrounding towns — is one of the busiest in the state, but she said that was not an excuse. She told the commission such delays would not happen again and she would delegate more duties to her subordinates to free up time to complete such reports.

Connecticut has 13 state’s attorneys who are the top law enforcement officials in their judicial districts.

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