The mayor of Bridgeport, Connecticut announced that there will be an internal investigation into the police department’s handling of the death of Lauren Smith-Fields, a Black woman who mysteriously died last month after going on a Bumble date with a white man.
On Monday (Jan. 24), Mayor Joe Ganim revealed plans for the probe. “There is no tolerance for anything less than respect and sensitivity for family members and their loss,” he said in a statement. “To that end, this matter has been referred to the Office of Internal Affairs to conduct a full and fair investigation.”
The mayor’s decision comes after Smith-Fields’ family called a detective’s handling of the case “racially insensitive” and announced plans to file a lawsuit.
As REVOLT previously reported, last month, authorities received a 911 call from 37-year-old Matthew LaFountain from Smith-Fields’ apartment. The 23-year-old student was lifeless once they arrived. LaFountain reportedly told investigators that he and the young woman began talking to each other on the Bumble dating app and decided to meet in person.
After drinking alcohol, eating food, playing games and watching a movie, LaFountain told police that he carried the young woman to her bedroom and laid her on her bed after she fell asleep. According to the police report, he laid down next to her and fell asleep. When he woke up that next morning, LaFountain said he found her laying on her side, not breathing, with blood coming out of one of her nostrils.
Shantell Fields, Smith-Fields’ mom, told CBS News that she drove to her daughter’s apartment after she was unable to contact her. “When I got there, there was a note on the door saying, ‘If you’re looking for Lauren, call this number,'” she said.
Smith-Fields’ brother said that a detective told them, “We didn’t need to reach out to any family member – we had her passport and her ID, so we knew who she was, and had already performed an autopsy, and her body is at the medical examiner’s office.”
On Monday, the medical examiner ruled that Smith-Fields died from “acute intoxication due to the combined effects of fentanyl, promethazine, hydroxyzine, and alcohol.” Her death was ruled an accident.
Mayor Ganim also announced Monday that the city will be revising its policies on family death notifications.
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