On September 11th Stratford Police Sargent Jamie “Javi” Rivera posted on Facebook (see screen shot of post below) which was then widely shared and condemned on social media. In his post Sargent Rivera claimed “Black lives matter is a terrorist organization!!!! They call for the killing of cops. No matter what color.”
The post went viral, resulting in a statement published by Mayor Laura Hoydick and the Rev. D. Stanley Lord, President of the Greater Bridgeport NAACP, following a meeting between Rev. Lord and Police Chief Joseph McNeil. Additional statements were also issued by Town organizations condemning Sgt. Rivera’s post.
During the Town Council meeting on September 14th Stratford residents spoke during the Public Forum on the recent Facebook post by Sgt. Rivera
Rev. Lord, Greater Bridgeport NAACP
Dr. Tina Manus
All speakers called for police accountability for the incident, including (but not limited to) a police review board, education and training. Mr. Goodson noted that every crisis presents an opportunity, and hoped that Stratford would take this incident to work with the NAACP and well as members of C.A.R.E ((Citizens Addressing Racial Equity). There was also calls for an investigation into Sgt. Rivera’s post, as apparently there is a Code of Conduct for the police department that might have been violated.
The Stratford Crier made an editorial decision to post all of the statements for reader information with no comment or opinion. Before posting this article a call was placed to Mayor Hoydick and Police Chief McNeil for comment. Their offices did not respond.
Racial Equity Subject of Zoom Talks “Conversations” Begin November 5
A series of six Conversations on Racial Equity is set for the Zoom platform beginning Thursday, November 5 at 7:30 pm. The new series is presented by Stratford CARE (Citizens Addressing Racial Equity) and sponsored by the Town of Stratford, the Stratford Clergy Association and the Stratford Library. The program is free and open to the public.
Led by trained facilitators from Raising the BAR, a program of the Council of Churches of Greater Bridgeport, the goal of the program is to make people come together to make Stratford stronger and healthier for all. Thought-provoking videos, articles and podcasts about how racism has shaped our environment will be discussed and participants will also work in small groups to discuss how to unite to take action, heal divides and make a difference in Stratford.
The series begins on November 5 with “Starting Point: Implicit Bias” held on Zoom from 7:30-8:45 pm. The remaining programs in the series include: “Housing Disparities” on December 3, “Health Disparities” (January 7, 2021) “Educational Disparities” (February 4), “Employment Disparities” (March 4) and “Criminal Justice Disparities” (April 1). It is not necessary to attend every session in order to take part in the series.
To register for the free conversation series visit: www.stratfordcare.org/courage.
Statement from the Stratford Republican Party
Lou Decilio, Chairman of the Stratford Republican Party
This is being handled by the administration, Chief of Police, the NAACP, and CARES.
Everyone is in communications and I’m confident it will be settled.
Statement from the Stratford Democrats
By Steve Taccogna, Chairman of the Stratford Democrats
The Stratford Democratic Town Committee strongly condemns the irresponsible, offensive, and erroneous comments made by Sgt. Jaime Rivera of the Stratford Police Department about the Black Lives Matter movement.
These comments are unacceptable and reprehensible. They are aimed at movements to end systemic police brutality against black men, women, and children and to silence those calling for such reform. This act of bad faith calls into serious question the suitability of the officers who stand against this goal.
It is vital that we hold people accountable for their words and deeds, especially those in whom we have placed our trust and our safety. It is also imperative that those who do not share the values of routing out racism in our law enforcement system and in our communities be investigated and assessed on whether they can conduct their jobs without bias or malice.
We await the Stratford Police Department’s plan to address this individual incident, to prevent similar situations in the future, and to rout out in its own department the underlying sentiments that lead to behaviors such as those exhibited by Sgt. Rivera.