Police in Connecticut have opened an investigation into the death of a Black woman found dead last month in her Bridgeport apartment after a date with a man she met on a dating app.
The woman, Lauren Smith-Fields, 23, was found after a man she met on Bumble called 911 on December 12 to report that he woke up to find her unresponsive with a nosebleed .
An attorney for the Smith-Fields family, Darnell Crosland, filed the claim Friday, notifying the city of his intention to sue over what he describes as handling the case.” lack of racial sensitivity” of the police department.
In its claim notice, Crossland said Bridgeport police failed to investigate and failed to recover key evidence from the apartment, including a bloodstained bed sheet, a pill and a used condoms, until two weeks after Smith-Fields’ death, at her family’s urging. Bridgeport Police did not respond to multiple requests for comment on these statements.
The family also said that police told them the man she met online, 37 years old and white, was not of interest but did not explain why, and that the detective initially assigned The case manager asked them to stop calling to inquire about the status of the investigation. Her family said police never informed them of her death and they learned about it from her landlord.
Mayor Joseph Ganim on Monday said “sensitivity and care are of paramount importance when working with the victim’s family” and the handling of the case has been forwarded to the police department’s Office of Home Affairs for further investigation. investigate. He said he would work with the sheriff to make changes to the department’s operations regarding notifying family members of a death.
‘s office The chief medical examiner said Monday that Smith-Fields’ death was accidental, due to “acute intoxication from the synergistic effects of fentanyl, promethazine, hydroxyzine, and alcohol.”
In a statement on Tuesday, Bridgeport police said that following the medical examiner’s report, the Narcotics Police Department and Deputy had opened an investigation. They will be supported by the Drug Enforcement Administration, the statement said.
Crossland says the family is still awaiting the results of an independent autopsy and that the medical examiner’s findings do not cure the police department’s “lack of process” but make things worse. worse than.
If police did better at the scene and the Smith-Fields man was with him, the family would have more answers, he said.
A protest was held in Bridgeport on Sunday, on Smith-Fields’ 24th birthday, at which her family and several dozen others called on the state to take over the investigation.
https://www.nbcnews.com/news/nbcblk/connecticut-police-open-criminal-investigation-death-black-woman-rcna13505 Connecticut police open investigation into black woman’s death