Jury: Cops Didn’t Violate Rights

Christopher Peak Photo A federal jury Tuesday unanimously decided that two New Haven cops did not violate an Edgewood man’s constitutional rights, after deliberating for four-and-a-half hours.

The eight-member panel, all out-of-towners, sided with Det. Daniel Conklin and Lt. Jason Rentkowicz, two cops who’d been accused of falsely arresting and maliciously prosecuting Dennis Serfilippi, a startup consultant from Edgewood.

During two days of trial testimony, the plaintiff tried to prove that Conklin had lashed out maliciously, by kicking and pushing the front door and then mistaking details in a police report, while the defendants tried to show that the officers acted professionally in responding to an irritated citizen.

Serfilippi’s attorney, Joseph Merly, noted that it’s tough to prosecute cops. “In the Second Circuit and this district, the law is really in favor of the police, to even find a violation of constitutional rights,” he said. The jurors all came from out of town, three of them from the suburbs where the cops on trial live, Milford and Clinton.

Michael Wolak, the city attorney, meanwhile, said that the two officers were “doing a job, and doing it to the best of their ability.”

(Click here, here and here for previous coverage of this case, which included testimony of missing evidence. Click here to read about Conklin’s internal police file of incidents involving abusing citizens, which the jury was not allowed to hear about.)

In their closing statements, both Merly, the plaintiff’s attorney, and Wolak, the corporation counsel defending the cops, highlighted the two legal concepts they’d been competing to establish throughout the case: probable cause and intent.

Did the police officers have good reason to believe that Serfilippi had created a dangerous traffic incident, interfered with an officer’s duties, and injured an cop’s hand?

More importantly, what was the intent on both sides? Serfillippi had to show that Conklin pursued the charges against him for some other reason than seeing justice served. On the flip side, the police needed to prove that Serfilippi intended to pester or harass the road crew (or had been so reckless that intent didn’t matter), intended to withhold information from Conklin, and intend to stop Conklin from doing his job when he pinched his finger in the door.

In Merly’s narrative, Conklin unleashed malice to get back at Serfilippi for asking his badge number and threatening to call his supervisor.

But, first, the lawyer was quick to distinguish Conklin from other police officers. He began by thanking the jury for deciding such a difficult case. “It’s not easy to sit in judgement of anyone, let alone with a police officer,” Merly said. “You may want to say, ‘I wasn’t there; he’s a professional; he did what he had to do,’ and not second-guess him. It’s natural to feel that way. The difference in this case is that when a citizen is wronged by a police officer, what is he to do? He can’t go to the police; he goes to the jury. You are the police of the police officers.” He added, “This case is not against police officers; it’s about two specific people who were doing a job. We feel very strongly that, in doing that job, they violated the constitutional rights of Mr. Serfilippi.”

Then, channeling the cop, Merly enacted some of Conklin’s testimony, including the deescalation tactics he supposedly used, and repeatedly referred to his client as a “wise guy,” assigning Conklin an extrajudicial motive.

Wolak, afterwards, argued that the footage showed probable cause on every count. After nearly causing a collision in the roadway, he said, Serfilippi should have turned over his identification and then not slammed the door shut. “Who’s in control of this situation? Mr. Serfilippi could have ended it right then and there by providing his identification,” he said, of the conversation between Conklin and the homeowner through the closed front door. “Det. Conklin asks again for a license, identification, date of birth. The plaintiff said he never refused, but he also never gave it, which is a refusal.”

The jury left to begin deliberations at 12:11 p.m.

Four hours later, at 4:04 p.m., around the time that they were usually dismissed for the day, the jury sent out a note with three handwritten questions for Meyer.

“Can we award punitive damages if there is no evidence of malicious prosecution or evidence of false arrest?” (No.)

“If there is no evidence of false arrest, can we determine that the arresting officer acted with malice?” (Yes.)

“Can you come into the room to field questions?” (No.)

Shortly after, at 4:47 p.m., the jurors sent out another note, declaring that they had reached a verdict. The clerk read each line of the four-page verdict form aloud, stating that the plaintiff had not proven a single disputed fact needed to establish the false arrest and malicious prosecution claims. Each juror then individually said that they agreed with the verdict as read.

Outside the courthouse, Conklin declined to comment as he entered his vehicle, parked in a reserved spot for police.

Serfilippi, meanwhile, said on the courthouse steps that he didn’t consider the verdict a loss.

“I wanted to expose a rogue cop, and I did that. The citizens of New Haven got to see how these two police acted,” he said. “Even though the complaint read Serfilippi v. Conklin and Rentkowicz, I really brought it on behalf of all the citizens of New Haven, especially those people who don’t have the intellectual and financial wherewithal and community standing that I do. If this is the way that they act and speak and behave toward somebody like myself, I can only imagine how they’d treat someone without the means I have.”

He added, “I don’t think that Det. Conklin has heard the last from the people of the City of New Haven. Today’s case is over; the people are not done. I promise you that.”

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posted by: robn on September 12, 2017  11:09pm

BS verdict. Conklin better act like Snow White for the rest of his career because if he steps out of line again he’s toast.

posted by: new haven can do better on September 13, 2017  12:34am

The photos in this story show Serfilippi and his attorney smiling and giving the thumbs up signal, while Conklin appears tired and dejected. Are these file photos or were these the actual photos taken after the verdict?

{Ed.: Actual photos after the verdict.}

posted by: 1644 on September 13, 2017  7:39am

Sad.  Conklin remains a danger to the community and the city’s fisc.

posted by: Really ?? on September 13, 2017  7:42am

A jury without bias returned a verdict quickly in favor of the New Haven Police officers.
Several questions must be asked, What relationship does the Independent have with Serfilippi?
Why was this series of articles written with such bias?
If Serfilippi just wanted to assist his mother in leaving, why did he not communicate with the officer or construction crew?
The jury heard just the facts and quickly came to the correct conclusion.

posted by: Dwightstreeter on September 13, 2017  8:08am

It was said that the OJ case was won when the jury was picked.
    Serfilippi’s suit had jurors from white suburbs and not from New Haven or Bridgeport where daily encounters with police are very different.
    Something is out of whack when a situation like this results in a citizen’s being charged with a crime.
    FYI, the last NHPD Union Contract expired on 6 30 17, so a new one must be in the works. It is worth reading to see if the protections for the police don’t undermine the protections for the citizen.
    With the new city website still changing, I don’t know if the Contract is still online, but check at the NHPD website. Otherwise any one can do a simple Freedom of Information Request for a copy or ask your Alder.
    If the NHI has a copy, perhaps it could be posted.

posted by: alphabravocharlie on September 13, 2017  9:31am

Fortunately, police officers can still get justice in court because there is no justice, fairness or impartiality in the media, particularly the Independent.

posted by: wendy1 on September 13, 2017  9:35am

In HS, one of my teachers stated that the general population showed signs of IQ decline.  This verdict is living proof.

Conklin should be fired and referred for psychotherapy.  I suggest another line of work, not police work.
If a nurse pulled this kind of act, lies and mistreatment, she would lose her license, the ability to work as a nurse.

posted by: AJENT3 on September 13, 2017  10:51am

VERY SAD

posted by: I Shouted Out... on September 13, 2017  11:07am

Part 1:

“Just as every cop is a criminal
And all the sinners saints
As heads is tails
Just call me Lucifer
Cause I’m in need of some restraint”

Sympathy for the Devil, Rolling Stones

A requiem for Saint Daniel Conklin…

Goes after only innocents
Unveils his holy wrath
In New Haven no one is safe
Look out dear citizens
To seek justice is just a myth
Yes, Conklin must be fired

I do NOT believe every cop is a criminal. No, sir. There are many principled, honorable and hardworking men and women in the New Haven Police Department who serve the community well. I thank all of you.

But justice sometimes isn’t found in our court system. A jury of our peers sometimes has to get home for dinner after wasting four days of their lives on a matter that should never have made it to Federal Court in the first place, but for the ego and arrogance of one psychopathic cop. The jurors spent 4 ½ hours deliberating this case and seemed to want to award financial compensation to the plaintiff, but also seemed confused by the nuances of complicated laws and the jury instructions provided to them by Judge Meyer. That they wanted the Judge to come into the jury room to field questions suggests they were confused. That juries sometimes act arbitrarily is the risk both sides face in any jury trial. The police defendants got to choose a judge or jury trial, and went with the latter for good reason. The Judge most likely would have delivered a fair and more just decision than this jury, particularly in terms of the malicious prosecution.

posted by: I Shouted Out... on September 13, 2017  11:09am

Part 2:

For godsakes Officer Daniel Conklin charged this hapless Edgewood man with felony assault of an officer punishable by 10 years in prison! Those jurors saw that video. They could easily have put themselves in that man’s shoes as likely homeowners in the suburban communities in which they lived. What a very scary charge to make against anyone, especially for an incident that even Lieutenant Jason Rentkowicz (the second defendant) described as having been taken too far by Officer Daniel Conklin (listen to the video for audio evidence of that). But that’s our justice system and it still beats what you get in most other countries…by far.

“What you are shouts so loudly in my ears I cannot hear what you say.”
-Ralph Waldo Emerson

That’s a good quote by Emerson. No matter how Daniel Conklin defended himself or what he said could not be heard because what Daniel Conklin is screams loudly to all the citizens of New Haven.

IN THE COURT OF PUBLIC OPINION, OFFICER DANIEL CONKLIN IS GUILTY.

posted by: I Shouted Out... on September 13, 2017  11:11am

Part 3:

Officer Daniel Conklin got off. Scot free. But we all know what he did. We saw the video (watch here: https://youtu.be/kQyEraiTDyg). We followed the court proceedings. We know what the contradictions are in his deposition. The citizens of New Haven know what the truth is here. And I will argue that Officer Daniel Conklin knows what the truth is too, something he’ll have to live with for the rest of his life. More important, Daniel Conklin is now a toxic presence among his fellow police colleagues. He has certainly brought shame to the New Haven Police Department with his behavior and actions (all those Internal Affairs investigations speak for themselves). This is a shame he will now work hard to erase in his role as Detective. That should worry New Haven’s residents even more! If Daniel Conklin made evidence disappear (the Edgewood man’s phone) to serve his own interests, why wouldn’t he introduce false evidence to get that big conviction to get his career back on track? Charging a white guy - who maybe has a bit of cash to seek justice with - with felony assault of an officer is one thing, but throwing an innocent person of less means behind bars with planted evidence is an unforgivable sin.

Daniel Conklin has presented himself to be a clear and present danger to the New Haven Police Department and New Haven’s residents. Surely there is a department within the NHPD where this time bomb can be demoted to and thus contained.

posted by: Really ?? on September 13, 2017  11:18am

Amen !  to Alphabravocharlie Completely agree !

posted by: AliceB on September 13, 2017  11:29am

What is the matter with the New Haven Independent?  Why do you dislike this officer to the point of losing objectivity in journalism???
The trial is over and the verdict is in. Get over it.
Wendy1 you really need to study facts and read before you put such hatred out there.
By using that picture of the plaintiff and his attorney you embarrassed yourselves.
The winners in this case showed a lot more class than the losers.

posted by: SwampfoxII on September 13, 2017  12:19pm

Why the repeated and subtly derogatory references to jurors from “white suburbs”? The plaintiff was white.  The cops he sued were white. Are there no circumstances exempt from race baiting? It seems narrow minded if not racist to suggest “white” people from the “suburbs” could not rationally and fairly decide this case on the evidence and the law. Plus, a lot of big verdicts against cops, including New Haven cops, have been handed down by all white or majority white juries, so this kind of talk is just ignorant. PS - Serfilippi’s lawyer peacocking around with that cigar in his mouth. What’s up with that? Wonder what the jury’s assessment of him was.  Be interesting to hear.

posted by: born&raisedNH; on September 13, 2017  12:38pm

Thank you Mr. Serfilippi for having more of an intellectual and financial standing in our community than I do! Clearly, you’re a stand up guy for conducting your own traffic hand signals within a construction zone and walking away from an officer who issued you a ticket for interference. One day I hope I can be as respectful and eloquent as you.
New Haven Independent, please stop attempting to make news where there isn’t any! We do not need the media to try and tarnish the wonderful relationship New Haven citizens and NHPD have. My experience with the NHPD has been nothing but pleasant and respectful; even during a time when I was issued a ticket! Shine some positivity on our world.

posted by: Dennis S. on September 13, 2017  1:55pm

My name is Dennis Serfilippi, and I was the Plaintiff in this case. I reside at 883 Elm Street.

My counsel made it clear from the start that our chances of winning in court were very low because the defendants would choose to have the case heard by a jury, instead of a judge.  My counsel also made it clear if we did win, any monetary award would be immaterial. So, this case was never about money. Rather it was all about exposing Conklin and Rentkowicz.  I wanted a public forum to express my concerns, and I got it in spades. We lost the legal argument, but succeeded in exposing Conklin for who he really is – a rogue cop.  We lost, but the residents of New Haven won. Conklin and Rentkowicz have been put on notice. If they continue to act the way they have, the citizens of New Haven will drag them into Federal Court and file Internal Affairs Complaints. Indeed, the Federal case has ended but Conklin and Rentkowicz will still need to answer to the Internal Affairs complaints. And going forward they will need to answer to the people of New Haven. 

Conklin perjured himself in his police report, he perjured himself in his deposition, and he likely perjured himself in Federal Court. Internal police investigations found he destroyed evidence on one bogus stop, he harassed and arrested a man outside his home on trumped-up charges on another, and he shoved and threatened to tow the “fucking car” of a “motherfucker” fisherman who’d parked on a bridge. Conklin has no credibility and has demonstrated by his actions and his words that he is unfit to be a police officer, and certainly not a detective. In fact, his record should call into question all of the arrests he has made and any related prosecutions. Conklin is a liability to the City of New Haven, an embarrassment to the honest, hard-working dedicated members of the NHPD and a threat to the residents of New Haven whom he has been called on to serve and protect. Conklin ought to be dismissed from the department

posted by: robn on September 13, 2017  1:58pm

Every honest member of the NHPD should send Officer Conklin a nice thank you note. Now every time they are on a cream puff after hours job baby sitting road contractors they’ll be under a microscope and if they take a minute to call home and see if their kid is doing their homework, they may get a civilian complaint by someone who remembers Conklin slacking off, having a thin skin, harassing a taxpayer in his home, and then stealing and discarding his property (phone) which is akin to destroying evidence. Thank you Office Conklin! Honest members of the NHPD salute you.

posted by: 1644 on September 13, 2017  2:55pm

Dennis S.  Unfortunately, statutory and union contract protections mean Conlkin will stay employed by NHPD and where he will continue to be a threat to residents.  Moreover, I fear this verdict will simply Conklin and the bad-cops like him.  What did he suffer?  Nothing, he continued to be paid, even promoted, and the city covered his legal expenses.  Sure, his reputation and that of the NHPD suffered, but I don’t think he or NHPD care whether or not the people who pay them support them.  If cops cared about how the public perceived them, they wouldn’t protect, support, and defend bad cops like Conklin.  The lack of accountability is worse in other departments:  look at the trigger happy cop in Easton who killed an unarmed man in a totally unjustified raid.  Any private employer would fire these loose cannons as unnecessary risks to the pocketbook and reputations, but in government they are allowed to stay on.  God forbid that NHPD cops would have performance evaluations, and that those evaluations determine promotion and retention, as they do in the military.

posted by: Dwightstreeter on September 13, 2017  3:28pm

My nominees for Citizens of the Year 2017 are Holly Tucker and Dennis Serfilippi.
      While the NHPD continues to distribute press releases celebrating reduced crime rates, the non-criminal classes in New Haven become increasingly fearful of any confrontation with a cop.
      Ms. Tucker, a daughter of award-winning activist Barbara Fair, was violently assaulted by 2 officers and dragged thru the half open window of her car for a dispute as to whether or not a traffic stop on Foxon Blvd. had ended.
      Despite a news black out (no pun intended) over this event, in which she was seriously injured and still has issues with PTSD, last Friday her attorney Norm Pattis announced that the State declined to prosecute the charges against her and the matter was closed.
      Mr. Serfilippi was arrested and faced criminal charges because he helped his 83 year old mother exit the family driveway when neither the cop on duty nor the construction crew assisted her.
      Both people stood their ground in resisting police bullying. One prevailed; one didn’t.
      Both served the public interest in having a professional police force that truly protects and defends and not one that bullies and beats.
    Both nominees stood up for their rights, which means they stood up for yours and mine as well.
    Thank you both. Well done.

posted by: Ozzie on September 13, 2017  3:35pm

Most of the people here sound like Hillary ( still mad that they lost ) but don’t worry rumor has it is that Conklin is leaving New Haven for a different department , ( like so many other good cops )  for several reasons , 1) better wages , 2) better benefits. 3 ) a pension, and 4) Where the citizens actually like their Police Officers. So all of you can now rejoice that the rouge is leaving the building. But just remember he was found not guilty. Have a nice day

posted by: CarolM on September 13, 2017  4:18pm

1 of 3:

I’ve just gotten around to reading all these articles and most comments on this Federal case involving Officer Daniel Conklin. I’m quite surprised by this jury verdict, especially given what I viewed in that window cam video shared on the New Haven Independent’s site. What I saw was a guy running out to aid his elderly mother, who was clearly nervous about driving out of her driveway into the construction activity on the street on her way to an apparent appointment. I can see how the guy might be a little peeved with all those people seemingly standing around in the street in that video doing nothing, including Officer Daniel Conklin collecting supplemental cash for extra duty work. Sounds like this man, Mr. Serfilippi, works the gig economy as a consultant. That’s likely a tough life: no steady paycheck, no healthcare, no pension. The police and most government workers, as we all know, get very generous benefits across the board in this regard. That’s the context I see. Not sure what the jury saw or why they made the decision they did. But the jury’s decision is final and we accept that as a people.

posted by: CarolM on September 13, 2017  4:20pm

2 of 3:

What bothers me about the comments to this article in particular are the attacks on the objectivity of the New Haven Independent (NHI). We need the media to mediate between the people and those in power, and to speak truth to that power. The NHI uncovered a huge amount of nasty details about the police conduct of Daniel Conklin when they decided to pursue a community interest story about Mr. Serfilippi’s Federal lawsuit. Those awful Internal Affairs reports on Conklin’s behavior, especially his vulgar swearing at innocent folks (disclosed early in the NHI’s “How To Spot Rogue Cops” article: http://www.newhavenindependent.org/index.php/archives/entry/9.5m_question_rogue_cops/), wouldn’t have been revealed to the public if not for the NHI’s reporting. If one doesn’t like these facts, don’t blame the media. Revealing facts and hopefully putting those in balanced context is the media’s job. It’s not “fake media” just because you don’t like the facts: the facts are the truth. The media’s job is hugely important if we are to continue to have all of the freedoms available to us under the Bill of Rights.

posted by: CarolM on September 13, 2017  4:22pm

3 of 3:

Mr. Serfilippi, in his fearless comment here, is an example of a citizen standing up against enormous pressures – financial and otherwise – to speak truth to power on his own as a citizen. Mr. Serfilippi should be applauded by both the residents of New Haven and the good men and women of the New Haven Police Department for having filed and funded this Federal lawsuit. Mr. Serfilippi has exposed a potential cancer in our government and amongst some of its peace officers. Now, let us all please aim to have more civic discourse in forums like this. Together we can try to make our community stronger through unvarnished truth seeking, and we also need to acknowledge that the truth is supposed to hurt a bit. We need more fearless citizens like Mr. Serfilippi!

posted by: Hieronymous on September 13, 2017  5:44pm

I’ve seen this reference to “out of town” jurors too many times now to resist commenting. The District of Connecticut has three seats of court—Hartford, New Haven, and Bridgeport. The New Haven “division” includes all of New Haven, New London, and Middlesex Counties. That’s our jury pool. It’s inaccurate to keep insinuating that this jury was somehow stacked in favor of the cops because it was packed with “out of towners,” when New Haven isn’t actually the “hometown” to begin with. 

Don’t get me wrong. There is a *huge* problem with how federal juries are empaneled. The federal jury pool is drawn exclusively from two lists: registered voters and licensed motor vehicle operators. It is patently obvious that those lists tend to exclude residents of New Haven and other cities, or at least exclude a disproportionate amount of urban (and minority) residents relative to residents of the suburbs. (Ironically, the DMV list was added to improve the diversity of the jury pool; but, as NHI commenters know, cars are for the ‘burbs!) Federal law also excludes noncitizens and convicted felons (among others) from serving as jurors. As a result, the jury pool tends to be a lot more white and a lot more suburban than an accurate cross-section of the community would be.

This is a big problem, but it’s a problem in every case (particularly in criminal cases with minority defendants who may have much more in common with people who are excluded from the pool, or not included in the first place because they don’t vote or drive, than the supposed “jury of peers” that’s empaneled to judge them). It’s not some defense ploy in this particular case of Seemingly Short-Fused White Businessman v. Seemingly Short-Fused White Cop.

(All that said, I do cast my lot with the short-fused businessman and I wish juries were less timid about holding police officers accountable. It’s just that the “out of town jury” theme made me question the objectivity of the reporting on the trial.)

posted by: AliceB on September 13, 2017  5:57pm

Those of you who seemed so surprised by the verdict:  Guess the officers had one really fine lawyer!!!

posted by: Really ?? on September 14, 2017  6:21am

Do not believe everything you read in the newspaper !  A famous quote.
Most of the presented facts are from Dennis Serfilippi, what do we know about him?
Is he an angry difficult man ?  What are his relations with his family ?  These and other questions must be asked.
      The actions of Serfilippi, are they the actions of a reasonable man.  He wants to get his mother out of the driveway and he does not alert the officer or work crew. He instead rants and enters the roadway? He is the one who describes the officer as not doing his job is that the case?  Were there complaints from the work crew? At a busy, noisy construction site is it possible the officer did not see the mother attempting to leave the driveway?
        The officer is described as being worst than Al Capone, is that the case?  Haters will always hate.
        Did Serfilippi and his legal team resist handing over the video until the Judge ordered it very late in discovery?
        The missing items including a statement which supports the officer, and photos of an injured hand, would the officer dispose of these items on purpose? Or is it more reasonable that these items were misplaced or lost in the chain of custody?
        When asked for his license did Serfilippi say he did not have one?
Ask yourself why such bias in this series? The reporting on this case was very one sided. Again a jury without bias quickly returned a verdict after hearing all the facts, not just opinion presented by the media.
        Please use reason and do not be led like sheep !

posted by: SwampfoxII on September 14, 2017  9:06am

@Hieronymous.  Interesting info, but I fail to see how the selection procedure, to the extent it uses, among other things, voter lists, tends to exclude city residents. Per an article from Yale Daily News, the number of registered voters in New Haven has “soared.” According to the city’s Democratic Town Committee, as of 2012, voter registration in New Haven “had reached a record-breaking 71,371, marking the first time in years that there have been more than 70,000 active voters” in the city. (And even those high numbers increased in 2016).

That’s a healthy number of the city’s voting age population, which excludes both those under the age of 18 and New Haven’s large population of non-citizens (the “undocumented”) who of course may not serve on juries.

My take:  the jurors saw this as a petty squabble not worth being pulled from their lives and jobs to hear, and not worth marshaling all the resources of the federal court system - a case involving a hot headed guy making a mountain out of a mole hill, and a cop who would have been wiser to have just let the hot head go back into his house.

posted by: THREEFIFTHS on September 14, 2017  9:12am

Sounds Like he is like these Detectives.

EXCLUSIVE: Detective is NYPD’s most-sued cop, with 28 lawsuits filed against him since 2006 (SEE INTERACTIVE GRAPHIC)

Detective Peter Valentin (top) and (from left) Detective Vincent Orsini, Sgt. Fritz Glemaud and Detective Warren Rohan are among the 55 NYPD cops who have been sued at least 10 times over the past decade. (Richard Harbus for New York Daily News; myevent.com; David Wexler for New York Daily News)

Valentin, a hard-charging Bronx narcotics detective whose online handle is “PistolPete,” has been sued a stunning 28 times since 2006 on allegations of running slash-and-burn raids that left dozens of lives in ruins while resulting in few criminal convictions.The city has paid out $884,000 to settle cases naming the stocky, 36-year-old detective, but he doesn’t seem too concerned.The most recent suit naming Valentin is from November — and accuses him of roughing up a former All-City basketball star in retaliation for an earlier lawsuit.“I’m going to f—- you up,” Tyrone Shields, 23, quoted Valentin as saying during the chilling July 2013 encounter, where Valentin allegedly referred to himself as “the King of the Bronx.”

http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/lawsuits-nypd-double-decade-costing-taxpayers-1b-article-1.1615919

I like this.

NYPD spokesman Stephen Davis said former top cop Raymond Kelly established a Civil Lawsuit Monitoring Program The monitoring program looks at the number of lawsuits filed against an officer, the nature of the lawsuits, and an officer’s specific role in the incident, so they “can differentiate the guy with the battering ram at the door and the guy who’s up the block,” Davis said.The risk assessment unit looks at patterns and trends in the lawsuits that could warrant further review..

posted by: I Shouted Out... on September 14, 2017  9:45am

Part 1:

Hey commenter Really ??, are you Danny Conklin’s Mommy, frustrated by the fact that your son is ruining the family brand? (Dig down a few paragraphs in this link until you come upon a familiar name: http://www.nationalreview.com/article/205556/rich-police-william-f-buckley-jr). Or are you maybe Conklin’s last friend on the New Haven police force? In other words, your trolling on this forum is highly amateurish and non-additive. I recommend you read the thorough reporting here in the New Haven Independent (there are several articles going back all the way to 2016) before you start trying to stir the pot with your nonsense questions and uninformed observations.

Did you even follow the details of this case?! If you answer yes, then my response to you is your commenter name: Really ?? The comments in this forum should strive to be informative or at least thought provoking (not provoking!). Commenter Hieronymous contributed very useful information yesterday about the demographic make-up of jury pools in Federal court based on a likely flawed (or inadequate) selection methodology. That well-informed commenter said: “I do cast my lot with the short-fused businessman and I wish juries were less timid about holding police officers accountable.” I also note that he described Officer Conklin as “short-fused” as well.

posted by: I Shouted Out... on September 14, 2017  9:48am

Part 2:

Here’s the way I assess this case:

If Serfilippi hadn’t said something to Conklin, who was just standing there in the street watching him help direct his Mom out of the driveway (see the video), and had just muttered under his breath as he returned to his house, Conklin would never have arrested him. Officer Daniel Conklin didn’t make any move until Serfilippi said something to him at the spot where Conklin was still standing in the street (again, see the video). If Serfilippi had truly done something wrong, Officer Daniel Conklin should have immediately moved to arrest him while he was directing his Mom out into the street. Conklin is basically a jerk. A short-fused jerk. And Serfilippi, from my understanding of the case, had to spend a night in a jail cell with an open toilet in the corner because of a jerk cop. Why wouldn’t anybody fight that injustice in court?

posted by: Hieronymous on September 14, 2017  12:12pm

Fair point, Swampfox, but it doesn’t account for another problem with how federal (and state) juries are empaneled, which I didn’t mention yesterday b/c I’d droned on enough already. It’s the simple fact that people move and urban residents are much more mobile. Statistically, there is a significant variation between the percentage of jury summonses returned undeliverable in poor urban zip codes than suburban zip codes. Not sure what the latest statistics are, but in 2005 the Law Tribune reported that the undeliverable late in CT’s cities was over 18%, while it’s generally around 5% or less in the suburbs. That’s a meaningful difference, especially when (New Haven’s robust 2012 voter registration notwithstanding) urban and minority residents are already underrepresented or excluded from the pool.

Expanding the lists from which the pool is drawn (e.g. by including welfare and unemployment rolls, as some states do) would both contribute to a more representative pool and a lower undeliverable rate, because people are more likely to update their address with social service agencies than the registrar of voters. Even the most civic minded, probably only think about the address on their voter registration every 2 or 4 years, and that doesn’t even account for the fact that a great many people (of all backgrounds, but probably relatively more African Americans) registered to vote in 2008 and 2012 and may not have been as attentive to keeping up with address changes since. (Adding lists adds administrative costs, though, since someone has to make sure people aren’t being double-counted.)

Anyway, I don’t think anyone really contests this problem, at least at the federal level. Just walk into one of our courthouses (Hartford’s probably the worst, for whatever reason) and see for yourself. NHI should send the generally excellent Christopher Peak to a few criminal trials and he can really explore the issue. I just don’t think it was notable in this series.

posted by: Dwightstreeter on September 14, 2017  1:00pm

@1644: Barbara Fair has organized a study group to look at the NHPD Union contract. Protections for the police seem to be better than those for the victims of their improper, unjustified acts.

posted by: Dwightstreeter on September 14, 2017  1:18pm

Great suggestions for expanding the jury pool, Hieronymous. 
So who makes the changes?

posted by: 1644 on September 14, 2017  4:27pm

3/5’s: Bad cops stay on the force because of statutory civil service protections, case law like Loudermill, and contract provisions that view every complaint in isolation.  This verdict would not be so upsetting if it were the only incidence of a power-tripping Conklin violating some one’s civil rights.  But it’s not.  Cops should be subject to performance reviews, with retention and promotion dependent on good reviews.  That’s the way the military does it.  That’s what GE did with its managers. 
  The lack of accountability in most civil service jobs just leads to inefficiency and waste.  But when those civil servant are armed and authorized to use force,  it may lead to rights violations, injuries, and deaths.  We need to have a mechanism to cull the questionable officers from the force.
  Contrast the treatment of a former receptionist for my wife.  Her new supervisors received repeated complaints about her from patients.  Looked at individually, each complaint might be excused by saying the patient was cranky, or the employee was just having a bad day.  But looked at in their entirety,  it was likely that while not all might be valid, many likely were.  So, the employee was a fired.  That’s the way is should be with cops.  When their are a lot of complaints from unconnected people about a single cop, making that cop an outlier, the cop should be let go.

posted by: Patricia Kane on September 14, 2017  5:07pm

@1644: Community groups were stunned at the 2nd forum with the NHPD to learn that annual evaluations are NOT done. Initial evaluations are done at the cost of about $2500 per applicant, but there is no routine evaluation or random testing for drugs, steroids, etc.
    I agree with you on the need to institute an annual review as of the next police union contract.
    I hope the Mayor’s Task Force on Community Policing will recommend such a change and that the Board of Police Commissioners will also.

posted by: THREEFIFTHS on September 14, 2017  5:49pm

posted by: 1644 on September 14, 2017 4:27pm

3/5’s: Bad cops stay on the force because of statutory civil service protections, case law like Loudermill, and contract provisions that view every complaint in isolation.

I have seen police Officers fired with statutory civil service protections, Unions protect all members. Someone needs to put to rest this myth that bad officers cannot be fired because of unions.The real problem is pro police jurors.Look at The Philando Castile jury which was stacked with pro-gun, pro-cop.

posted by: SusanKennedy on September 14, 2017  6:15pm

[We Now Have Algorithms To Predict Police Misconduct
Will police departments use them?

By Rob Arthur, FiveThirtyEight, March 9, 2016]

Here’s an excerpt from the article:
[To build their early warning system, the University of Chicago group first looked for signals in the data that an officer might be going astray. They used a comprehensive data set of interactions between cops and the public gathered by Charlotte police officials over more than a decade. The researchers found that the most potent predictor of adverse interactions in a given year was an officer’s own history. Cops with many instances of adverse interactions in one year were the most likely to have them in the next year. Using this and other indicators, the University of Chicago group’s algorithm was better able than Charlotte’s existing system to predict trouble.]

Here’s the article link: https://fivethirtyeight.com/features/we-now-have-algorithms-to-predict-police-misconduct/. FiveThirtyEight (538) is a site run by a bunch of brainy math/statistics guys that covers politics, sports, science & health, economics and culture. They were spot on in predicting the 2008 presidential election by state, for example, and were only off by two states in 2012.

The key takeaway from this 538 article on predicting police misconduct is that an officer’s own history is the main predictor of future adverse interactions with citizens. Given Officer Daniel Conklin’s long record of Internal Affairs investigations at the New Haven Police Department, I wonder if this prediction model might have outed him as a bad hire earlier.

Does the New Haven Police Department use any type of software tools to monitor and predict police misbehavior?

posted by: 1644 on September 14, 2017  7:39pm

PK: I presume the “evaluations” you speak of are psychological evaluations.  I am simply talking about a job performance evaluation, or annual review.  How is this employee doing?  What are his strengths, weaknesses, and how does he rank against his peers?  Forced ranking is essential to get meaningful evaluations, otherwise everyone is above average.  Currently, NHPD promotes SOLELY on the basis of test scores, with NO consideration given to job performance.  Officers get no credit for great jobs done in the billet of a higher pay grade, like the district commanders, and pay no penalty for IA issues, citizen complaints, lawsuits, etc. In naval commands, chiefs write evaluations for the first class petty officers, then all the chiefs “rack and stack” the first class petty officers.  These evaluations are then sent to a Navy-wide selection board, which also gets test scores, and selects those first class to be advanced.  An evaluation which opens with “Ranked #1 of 20” gets attention.  NHPD should use some system that utilizes both test scores and job performance.  NHPD should also establish gates where poor performers, such as those with a lot of complaints, can be shown the door.  The potential liability of a bad cop will be weighed against the 100K plus cost of recruiting and training a new cop.

posted by: SusanKennedy on September 14, 2017  8:06pm

Per my previous post, I neglected to add that police unions are vehemently resistant to these algorithm-based police misbehavior prediction models. It’s hard to change the status quo. As hard as it is to find justice in a system where police by precedent, law and tradition have the upper hand. The crux of all this is that any organization needs to make optimal hires - definitely including the New Haven Police Department - to save costs. What a costly error it was to hire Daniel Conklin. Let’s try to solve this problem.

posted by: Josiah Brown on September 14, 2017  8:24pm

Wendy1:

Your teacher was misinformed and/or drawing upon data that would no longer be regarded as current.

You might be interested in the “Flynn effect”:

“The rise in each successive generation’s average IQ (Intelligence Quotient) test scores, named for the intelligence researcher James Flynn.
Example: Due to the Flynn effect, IQ test scoring must occasionally be reworked in order to ‘reset’ the average score to 100. That is, if you took an IQ test from when your grandparents were children, you would likely score higher than on a modern IQ test.”

https://psychcentral.com/encyclopedia/flynn-effect/

...
Beyond that… I have met mostly honorable, professional, public-spirited NHPD officers over the years.  Still, it’s clear that not all officers meet this standard. 

Reporting about problems—while also recognizing the “cop of the week”—is what the Independent does and should continue to do.  Residents need to be informed.  Voters, police commissioners, the civilian review board, task force, and the chief should welcome the facts and respond accordingly.

posted by: AnthonyD on September 14, 2017  10:01pm

Depressing verdict based on what seemed like strong evidence against the police officers. Not often a jury gets that kind of video evidence, which is generally far more believable than somebody’s words. Your eyes believe. Hard not to see the truth with them in this case. Officer Daniel Conklin is special. He comes from police royalty, something that his fellow officers have told us. That has to make him think differently than other officers, like those he was promoted to detective with last December. How angry are they now based on the huge news coverage Conklin’s behavior has generated. It makes all police look bad. Really bad. Here’s something I found in one of those left wing online sites, but the stat made my eyes go wide: “Seventy-two percent of U.S. police officers do not believe that officers who consistently do a poor job are held accountable, according to a new Pew Research Center survey conducted by the National Police Research Platform.” (http://m.huffpost.com/us/entry/us_58740d94e4b099cdb0ff0d04). Someone here commented about this verdict with one word. SAD. I agree.

posted by: 1644 on September 15, 2017  6:51am

Anthony:  Other officers may be angry,  but I doubt that they will be angry enough to loosen the employment protections that they all enjoy in order to allow the city to purge the force of those psychologically unfit to perform police work.  Again, under the present procedures, each allegation is viewed in isolation, and the thumb is always on the scale in favor of continued employment rather than maintaining (or obtaining) a force with integrity that is worthy of public respect.  Organizational goals are subordinated to individual employment rights.  Individual cops are trained that their highest duty is not to the law or the public, but to protect their “brothers and sisters in blue.”  This, although someone would have signed for that cell phone in its chain of custody, no one is held responsible for its loss.  The community needs to take back control of its police forces in order to ensure service to the community is their priority.

posted by: Patricia Kane on September 15, 2017  9:33am

@1644: An annual performance review would include any psychological issues that might be apparent and might warrant further investigation, such as claims of unjustified arrest or use of unjustified force.
    That the NHPD operates without this kind of evaluation is shocking.
    It appears that nothing happens until there is a big problem, and then it might be too late.
    None of this is meant to punish officers for issues that may develop, but to make sure they get supportive services, which are already part of their benefits package.
    The public must be protected from an officer armed with a gun, truncheon, pepper spray and soon tasers, when that officer is not healthy and able to do the job of protecting and defending.

posted by: Really ?? on September 15, 2017  2:31pm

I Shouted Out,

      The questions and observations presented are thought provoking. You term them as provoking? Why are they provoking, because you do not agree with them.
      As for trolling this site, is it your private domain?  Many of your comments appear child like. I will continue to post when I feel so inclined, you can agree or disagree. Your juvenile insults speak much about who you are.
      In this country we are free to express our thoughts and opinions, as I will do when I feel like it.
      I counter that you may be the one who has limited knowledge regarding this incident and appear only to have read the stories published in this comic book.

posted by: I Shouted Out... on September 15, 2017  3:49pm

Part 1:

Dear Really ??,

I hope you are well. Here’s why I recommended that you read the thorough reporting here in the New Haven Independent (there are several articles going back all the way to 2016) before trying to stir the pot with your nonsense questions and uninformed observations:

Question (Q) (from Really ?? Sep 14, 2017): “At a busy, noisy construction site is it possible the officer did not see the mother attempting to leave the driveway?”

A: Please look at the video: https://youtu.be/kQyEraiTDyg). Officer Daniel Conklin is clearly close enough to see the elderly woman and the situation clearly.

Q (from Really ?? Sep 14, 2017): “Did Serfilippi and his legal team resist handing over the video until the Judge ordered it very late in discovery?”

Answer (A): The New Haven Independent (NHI) reported on Sep 12, 2017 that the plaintiff handed over the video before this civil trial, assumedly per the rules of discovery. Wikipedia defines it as follows: “Discovery, in the law of the United States and other countries, is a pre-trial procedure in a lawsuit in which each party, through the law of civil procedure, can obtain evidence from the other party or parties by means of discovery devices such as a request for answers to interrogatories, request for production of documents, request for admissions and depositions. Discovery can be obtained from non-parties using subpoenas. Discovery in the United States is unique compared to other common law countries. In the United States, discovery is mostly performed by the litigating parties themselves, with relatively minimal judicial oversight. The Federal Rules of Civil Procedure guide discovery in the U.S. federal court system.”

posted by: I Shouted Out... on September 15, 2017  3:52pm

Part 2:

Q (from Really ?? Sep 14, 2017): “Were there complaints from the work crew?”

A: The NHI reported on Sep 12, 2017: [There’s the witness statement from the Laydon Industries foreman, who was overseeing the work crew. It supposedly collaborated Conklin’s description of Serfilippi’s disorderly conduct in the roadway, but it couldn’t be found. On Friday, the construction foreman said he didn’t remember ever signing off on a final copy of his statements before it was “misplaced.”]

Q (from Really ?? Sep 14, 2017): “The missing items including a statement which supports the officer, and photos of an injured hand, would the officer dispose of these items on purpose? Or is it more reasonable that these items were misplaced or lost in the chain of custody?”

A: The NHI reported on Sep 12, 2017: [Then there are the photographs of Conklin’s bloodied finger. They depicted “a broken nail, bruising, and blistering,” as the officer wrote in a police report right afterwards. They’re also gone.] Answers to whether Officer Daniel Conklin disposed of these items of evidence on purpose may be revealed in his upcoming Internal Affairs (IA) investigation (which I expect the NHI to cover extensively). But IA investigations in police departments across the nation are only effective if the police chief wants to do the right thing (here’s a good article about that: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/internal-affairs-police-misconduct_us_5613ea2fe4b022a4ce5f87ce.

I could go on but I believe I have already proven that it is, in fact, YOU that has limited knowledge regarding this incident involving rogue cop Daniel Conklin.

Warm Wishes,
I Shouted Out…

posted by: I Shouted Out... on September 15, 2017  5:32pm

Part 1:

Dear Really ??,

One more thing. Here’s a comment that might be considered…THOUGHT provoking:

[Why Police Lie Under Oath]
(from an online post at the California Innocence Project: https://californiainnocenceproject.org/2013/02/why-police-lie-under-oath/)

[For the wrongfully convicted and wrongfully accused, this could mean the difference between freedom and a lifetime of incarceration…  In [civil rights activist Michelle] Alexander’s view, it’s too easy for police officers to get away with it… So where does this leave the defendant? In a very bad position. A false report leads to a false arrest which then puts the defendant in a bind. As Alexander noted above, the jury will most likely believe the officer’s version of events… Police perjury or “testilying” is not new but the question remains as to why it still exists. Why haven’t police chiefs and departments taken away the incentive to lie under oath? Alexander sums it up best when she writes that the “fact that our legal system has become so tolerant of police lying indicates how corrupted our criminal justice system has become by declarations of war, “get tough” mantras, and a seemingly insatiable appetite for locking up and locking out the poorest and darkest among us.”]

posted by: I Shouted Out... on September 15, 2017  5:34pm

Part 2:

The charged claims in Part 1 above from that post are made in reference to two issues: 1) police justifying illegal drug searches through false arrests, and 2) police under pressure to meet arrest quotas. A particularly damning quote comes from Peter Keane, a former San Francisco Police commissioner who said: “Police officer perjury in court to justify illegal dope searches is commonplace. One of the dirty little not-so-secret secrets of the criminal justice system is undercover narcotics officers intentionally lying under oath. It is a perversion of the American justice system that strikes directly at the rule of law. Yet it is the routine way of doing business in courtrooms everywhere in America.”

I’m not saying Officer Daniel Conklin lied under oath. But he might have. Maybe the Internal Affairs investigation related to this incident (and just filed on Monday, September 11th) might shine some light on what the truth really is regarding the missing reports and evidence and provide us all with better answers (including oddly curious and shallow commenters like yourself, Really ??). We can hope. But I’m not holding my breath.

Best,
I Shouted Out…

posted by: AnthonyD on September 15, 2017  7:04pm

Thanks for those comments, 1644. I get that there’s a “brothers and sisters in blue” pact or code, but I don’t understand how there isn’t a process to audit property room inventory. You said “although someone would have signed for that cell phone in its chain of custody, no one is held responsible for its loss.” That seems unethical and wrong. So, are we to guess that Officer Conklin took the phone, put it in the property room and got documentation for that action. But the property room lost the phone later? That seems too obvious and suspect. Wouldn’t the police chief care if this was a pattern, or happened just this once in a case as troubling as this?

posted by: JasonT on September 16, 2017  8:03am

I watched and listened to the video and transcribed as best I could a section where Lt. Jason Rentkowicz is talking to Serfilippi. Rentkowicz talks fast but what he said around the 8:10 mark defines why this whole affair is a travesty of police work.

Lt. Jason Rentkowicz: “Let’s put the officer aside…Our skin’s supposed to be a little thicker. If the guy’s [Officer Daniel Conklin] telling you he’s insulted, we should be able to handle that. Besides his getting his feelings hurt, let’s talk about the Laydon guys.”

And a bit later Rentkowicz admits: “It’s completely absurd for it [Officer Conklin’s actions against Serfilippi] to have gone this far.”

Well, Rentkowicz went on to talk about the foreman from Laydon construction calling and filing a complaint against Serfilippi. A complaint that was “lost” or “misplaced” as we know from the jury trial. So the whole thing is BS. It’s all about Officer Daniel Conklin’s hurt feelings, apparently. And I guess the whole “blue code of fraternity” pact makes a guy like Rentkowicz (who sort of sounds like a decent person) do a real crappy thing by allowing the arrest to even progress. This should be used as a case study at the police academy about the importance of employing responsible discretion when deciding to arrest. Both Lt. Jason Rentkowicz and Officer Daniel Conklin failed miserably in their roles as public servants.

posted by: I Shouted Out... on September 16, 2017  2:18pm

Part 1:

This New Haven Register (NHR) story is EXACTLY why Officer Daniel Conklin, who made stuff up (finger injury, road construction company complaint — no evidence ever provided for this in jury trial) to charge and arrest Serfilippi, should be thrown out of the New Haven Police Department:

Link to story here: http://www.nhregister.com/new-haven/article/Wrongful-murder-conviction-lawsuit-filed-by-New-12201943.php


[Wrongful murder conviction lawsuit filed by New Haven man who spent nine years in prison
Defendant who spent 9 years behind bars files wrongful imprisonment lawsuit
By Esteban L. Hernandez, New Haven Register, Friday, September 15, 2017]

NHR story excerpt Part 1:
[Rosenthal said his client is seeking a civil jury trial and monetary damages. Rosenthal said Johnson lost “the most important years of his life.” He added Johnson has had trouble earning employment since being freed.
“We will be asking the jury to award millions of dollars,” Rosenthal said. “What is worth not being incarcerated for something he didn’t do?”

THE LAWSUIT ALLEGES THAT WILLOUGHBY AND QUINN, THE INVESTIGATING DETECTIVES, WORKED TOGETHER TO MANUFACTURE EVIDENCE AGAINST JOHNSON. The two detectives allegedly strong-armed a young Johnson by claiming his fingerprints had been found in the victim’s car, later instructing him to confess to Fields’ murder. Johnson previously had told police he was at a neighborhood pharmacy north of the crime scene the day of the shooting. He told police he had briefly visited the scene but had no involvement in the shooting.]

posted by: I Shouted Out... on September 16, 2017  2:20pm

Part 2:

NHR story excerpt Part 2:
[Police officers also allegedly had potentially exculpatory evidence relevant to the case but did not disclose it, Rosenthal said. Such misconduct would violate Johnson’s constitutional right to due process. The lawsuit said the detectives were notified in September 2006 by Connecticut State Police that ballistic results showed a .45-caliber pistol recovered from the body of a 17-year-old gunshot victim who died Aug. 30 matched shell casings and projectiles recovered at Fields’ homicide scene. The gunshot victim had lived two blocks south of the Fields homicide scene. The lawsuit alleges police knew this victim previously had committed two murders that same summer but chose to withhold the information.]

Like I said in my comment from September 13th, Conklin could turn out to be just like these two former New Haven Police officers, Clarence Willoughby and Michael Quinn, manufacturing evidence to convict the innocent!

Here’s the relevant section from my previous comment:

“He [Officer Daniel Conklin] has certainly brought shame to the New Haven Police Department with his behavior and actions (all those Internal Affairs investigations speak for themselves). This is a shame he will now work hard to erase in his role as Detective. That should worry New Haven’s residents even more! If Daniel Conklin made evidence disappear (the Edgewood man’s phone) to serve his own interests, why wouldn’t he introduce false evidence to get that big conviction to get his career back on track? Charging a white guy — who maybe has a bit of cash to seek justice with — with felony assault of an officer is one thing, but throwing an innocent person of less means behind bars with planted evidence is an unforgivable sin.”

posted by: Ozzie on September 16, 2017  2:35pm

The New Haven Police Departments downfall started back in the early 1990’s under the Nick Pastore regime when hiring standards were lowered and veteran supervisors and officers were forced out. Secondly Pastore was instrumental in hiring   Dean Esserman as an Assistant Chief and civilianizing the department. The Record room, Property room ( where the phone was placed into evidence ) are both staffed by civilians not Police Officers. Also staffed by civilians is the communication center ( ever try calling all you get is a recording ) . Nick was also responsible for bringing Billy White back into the narcotic unit from the patrol division, where he was placed by Chief Farrell . ( how’d that work out )
  Next in line for Chief ( after Pastore had to resign)  was Nick’s Assistant Chief Mel Wearing , nice guy but during his tenure as Chief there was the Jovin murder ( still unsolved ) and lawsuits by Detectives after evidence was held back in another homicide and lawsuits by Officers for being stepped over for promotions ( both which cost the City big bucks ). After Wearing came Ortiz ( another good guy ) but during his tenure Billy White and some of his people were sent to Federal prison. Ortiz was also sued by Tolnay which cost the City a load of money. Then Chief Lewis came ( probably the best of the bunch ) but he left after having issues with DeStefano, but he did lead the department through the Annie Lee murder .
  Then came Limon who was definetly in the deep end of the pool and he left after 18 months, which brought us back Esserman who named Generoso ( another Pastore guy ) an Assistant Chief . Esserman had to resign after his restaraunt fiasco . Which leads us to Campbell ( another nice guy who may or may not be in over his head ). Who I believe was actually hired under Pastore. So when people want to complain about the NHPD and it’s disfunction they really have to look no futher then the guy mentioned at the top of the column

posted by: victoria on September 17, 2017  7:08am

I want to take this moment to applaud Mr. Sefilippi for having the courage on exposing Detective Conklin for what he is-an unprofessional arrogant jerk that is under the incorrect assumption that he can treat citizens with his disgusting ways as he does.  I know Officer Conklin aka Detective and I am surprised he has lasted this long working in law enforcement with the short fuse that he has.  I also want to commend the comments of “I Shout Out” which definitely brings to light some very import points on Detective Conklin.    Detective Conklin demeanor on how he treats the citizens of New Haven is disgusting and he is in great need of intense course on how to treat others with dignity & respect.

posted by: I Shouted Out... on September 17, 2017  9:09am

There’s a blog I read once in while written by a guy I describe as a bruiser blogger who kicks ass with the truth: Larry Noodles (larrynoodles.com). It’s not the New Haven Independent; it’s something all together very different and Noodles has a take like no other in his occasional writings about issues that matter to New Haven. Looks like he attended this Federal trial and had more than a few fists full of truth for Officer Daniel Conklin, Lt. Jason Rentkowicz, the jury and all the nonsense that is this atrocity of police work: https://larrynoodles.com/new-haven-cops-mayor-on-trial/.

He nails it with this haymaker:
[The jurors must have thought that the cops did something wrong or they would not have asked whether they could still award punitive damages. I can only guess that the jurors thought that the cops were justified in arresting Mr. Serfilippi because Serfilippi slammed the door on Conklin’s fingernail.  But to arrest the guy and charge him assault on a police officer, disorderly conduct and interfering with an officer after Serfilippi was in the house calling police headquarters?  How could this arrest not be construed as malicious, especially when they got dropped by the prosecutor?]

posted by: JasonT on September 18, 2017  11:26am

Ozzie, you seem to have followed the New Haven Police Department’s history of dysfunction (your word) for a few decades. Looks like getting the right people to lead it is most important as you say. I agree and hope things get better. But I also think every one of us has to have personal integrity in our work and how we live our lives.

Glenn Hoff, a retired Deputy Police Chief, has the right message for Officer Daniel Conklin in this quote:

“There are only two things that we control in our careers. Our integrity and our work ethic. Integrity is key in policing. It’s too big a topic to discuss in detail here but the bottom line is that you need to be vigilant in living your Oath and Values. There is nothing worth sacrificing your integrity for and the ends never justify the means. You need to develop a strong ethical decision-making process and apply it consistently.”  -Glenn Hoff, Retired Deputy Chief of the Rochester, NY Police Department and founder of Guardian Leadership

A professor of mine at Marist College used to say: “We are defined by our actions, not our words.”

Human actions are driven by two things: our instinctual or reptilian part, and our rational part. The reptilian part drives our primal instincts, our instant gratification. In the actions taken by Daniel Conklin against an innocent New Haven man, his reptilian part drove him to harass and falsely charge the man with a felony crime (punishable by 10 years in prison), and arrest him because he was apparently insulted and made angry (over what I still do not understand). The video in this case displays Conklin’s actions to all of New Haven. But humans are not mere animals reacting instinctively. Our rational part should always push us towards what is good and right under all circumstances—that is also defined as Grace Under Pressure. The stronger our faith and commitment is, the better our chances of demonstrating Grace Under Pressure under all circumstances.

posted by: I Shouted Out... on September 21, 2017  8:56pm

One last quote to close things out…

“It is the common peoples duty to police the police.”
-Steven Magee