/  01.31.2022

A pair of Connecticut detectives have been placed on administrative leave over the handling of the death investigations of two Black women — Lauren Smith-Fields and Brenda Lee Rawls.

On Sunday (Jan. 30), Bridgeport Mayor Joe Ganim extended his condolences to the victims’ families, saying he was “extremely disappointed with the leadership of the Bridgeport Police Department and find actions taken up to this point unacceptable.”

“The Bridgeport Police Department has high standards for officer sensitivity especially in matters involving the death of a family member,” the mayor added. “It is an unacceptable failure if policies were not followed. To the families, friends and all who care about the human decency that should be shown in these situations in this case by members of the Bridgeport Police Department, I am very sorry.”

The two detectives have been identified by a lawyer for the Fields’ family as Detective Kevin Cronin and Detective Angel Llanos. They are currently subjects of internal affairs investigations and face disciplinary action for the way they handled the deaths of the two Black women. Additionally, the mayor said that a supervisory officer, who managed the cases, retired from the department as of Friday (Jan. 28).

As REVOLT previously reported, 23-year-old Smith-Fields died last month after meeting with a white man she met from the Bumble dating app. The man, who has been identified as 37-year-old Matthew LaFountain, called police from her apartment the morning after the two watched movies, ate food, played games and drank alcohol together. He told authorities that she fell ill and he took her to her bedroom. LaFountain said he fell asleep next to her and when he woke up, Smith-Fields was lifeless and blood was coming from one of her nostrils. The medical examiner’s office has ruled her death an accident due to “acute intoxication due to the combined effects of fentanyl, promethazine, hydroxyzine and alcohol.”

Smith-Fields’ family says the police did not notify them about her death. So far, LaFountain has not been charged for the college student’s death.

The same day that Smith-Fields passed away, Rawls was found dead at a Bridgeport residence. Her family says police never notified them about her death and authorities have not taken her case seriously. Rawls’ cause and manner of death have not been released to the public yet.

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