Trigger Warning: Police Violence
On May 9th, 2017, Bridgeport police shot and killed 15 year old Jayson Negron. Jayson's friend, 21 year old Julian Fyffe, was seriously wounded by gunfire in the incident. Both young men were left handcuffed on the ground immediately following the shooting. According to Julian, Jayson was alive and breathing as he lay handcuffed on the ground, but no aid was rendered to either young man for nearly 20 minutes.
Police accounts of events leading up to the shooting have been thrown into question by eye witness accounts and a video taken shortly after the incident. The video supports Julian Fyffe's account of events showing Jayson on the ground on his chest, his hands bound, still alive and moving following the shooting.
Many leaders and community members in our state have implored activists to "wait till we know the full story" before protesting. What we know is that Jayson was 15 years old and unarmed. By their own account of events, we know that police escalated a non-violent encounter and shot two unarmed young people of color. A video released shortly after the shooting indicates that Jayson's young life ended as he lay face down atop his wounds, handcuffed on the street.
To add insult to injury, we know that Jayson's body was left in the street for six hours as family members, friends, neighbors, and community members gathered to express their grief and outrage. Allowing passersby to take photos and video of the scene.
Finally, we know that this incident occurred in a context of police violence across the country and here in our state. This incident is one of nearly a dozen incidents of extreme use of force by police in our state on unarmed young people of color since January alone. In fact, this isn't even the first case of a young person of color being shot by police in the city of Bridgeport in the last few months.
A coalition of groups, including People Against Police Brutality, Black Lives Matter New Haven, and CTCORE-Organize Now! responded to a call from Bridgeport residents immediately following the shooting, rallying together around the families of the victims. More than three hundred people gathered together in grief and outrage in the immediate aftermath of the shooting demanding justice and accountability.
The following week, Members of our coalition rallied with community members in front of the Margaret E. Morton Government Center in Downtown Bridgeport and delivered nearly sixty signed letters to Mayor Ganim calling for accountability and de-escalation training for all Bridgeport police officers.
Meanwhile, Chief of Police AJ Perez has come out publicly defending the actions of officer James Boulay saying, "Based on all information that I have received, and I have not heard anything that would dissuade me, our officers acted within the guidelines of law and department policy."
Initially, Perez attempted to explain why Jayson's body was left lying uncovered in the street for 6 hours telling Fox 61, "I asked that it (the body) be covered, but it cannot be covered because it tampers with, it ruins the evidence." He later told the Connecticut Post that a "forensic official" informed him, upon arriving at the scene, that the body could have been covered with a sheet.
Chief Perez and Mayor Joe Ganim have expressed regret over the fact that Jayson's body was not properly covered after he was killed and pledge that a body will never be left out in the open again. No such promise has been made about the killing of unarmed young people by city police.
We demand that our elected officials take steps to prevent these acts of violence from occurring in the first place and safeguard our right to due process and to live without fear of police violence.
A copy of our letter to Mayor Ganim can be found here. We encourage all of our supporters to print the letter, sign it, and either mail or hand deliver it to:
Joseph P. Ganim
Office of the Mayor
Margaret E. Morton Government Center
999 Broad Street
Bridgeport, CT 06604