U.S. To Open Civil Rights Investigation In Jashon Bryant Case
March 13, 2010
The U.S. Department of Justice has agreed to open a civil rights investigation into the shooting death of Jashon Bryant, an African American city resident, by a white Hartford police detective in 2005, Bryant's family said Friday.
Bryant, 18, was shot twice by Hartford police Det. Robert Lawlor, who was later charged with manslaughter and assault. Lawlor was acquitted by an all-white jury in December.
"We do feel that Jashon Bryant was murdered in cold blood and deserves justice for his family," said Scot X. Esdaile, president of the state's chapter of the NAACP. "We met with Roy Austin, deputy assistant attorney general, who made it clear to us that there will be a full-fledged investigation."
Esdaile said that FBI agents will interview witnesses and gather facts in the case, and that Austin assured the family that he would personally come to Connecticut to inform them of their findings.
Jashon's mother, Cynthia Bryant, traveled to Washington, D.C., Thursday to meet with justice department officials. She said Friday the decision to open an investigation made her "so happy."
"This is about Jashon Bryant and Brandon Henry and all the other Hartford families," she said.
Henry was the driver of the car that Bryant was sitting in when Lawlor opened fire. Henry was shot in the chest, but survived.
Henry's mother, Brenetta Henry, and other members of her family and Bryant's gathered at the federal courthouse in Hartford Friday evening to announce the federal investigation.
Reprinted with permission of the Hartford Courant.
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