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Connecticut mayor announces probe into police handling of Black woman’s death


The mayor of Bridgeport, Connecticut, announced Monday that the police department’s handling of the investigation into the death of a 23-year-old Black woman found unresponsive in her apartment in December by a man she had met on a Bumble date has been referred to its Office of Internal Affairs for an independent investigation, reports NBC BLK.

This comes just days after an attorney for the woman’s family said they plan to sue the city over what they described as the police department’s “racially insensitive” handling of the case.

“First, I would like to restate the city’s condolences to the family and friends of Lauren Smith-Fields, and to the many caring individuals who have reached out seeking answers for Lauren,” Mayor Joseph Ganim said in a statement Monday. “I recognize that the family and the community is experiencing a lot of pain because of the loss of a young woman in addition to unanswered questions and concerns about the way the matter has been handled.”

An attorney for the family filed a notice of claim Friday, charging that acting Assistant Police Chief Rebeca Garcia, Ganim and three other police officers violated the rights of Smith-Fields and her family under the 1983 Civil Rights Act and failed to provide her and her family with the due process accorded to them under the 14th Amendment.

Smith-Fields was found unresponsive Dec. 12 in her apartment in Bridgeport by the 37-year-old man, who is White, she had met on the dating app Bumble. NBC News is not naming the man because he has not been charged.