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Plan For City Offered

Proposal Aims To Quell Violence

May 27, 2005
By MATT BURGARD, Courant Staff Writer

Hartford's legislators announced a 10-point plan Thursday to combat violence in the city that includes calling for more funding for jobs for youths and creation of a city juvenile review board with full state funding.

State Reps. Kenneth Green, Marie Kirkley-Bey, Art Feltman and Douglas McCrory said to reduce violence, the city must first address inequities in the criminal justice, educational and economic systems that they said are "resulting in an atmosphere of hopelessness and despair."

The plan included a call for state, local and federal officials to monitor the ongoing investigations into the fatal shooting of an 18-year-old Hartford resident on May 7 by Hartford police officer Robert Lawlor. Jashon Bryant was shot in the back of the head in his vehicle by Lawlor, who has said through his lawyer that he thought Bryant was reaching for a gun and that the driver of the car was putting the car in gear and driving toward Lawlor's partner, federal agent Dan Prather.

The legislators' plan also calls for adding to the city Civilian Review Board and the city Firearms Discharge Board of Inquiry.

Other points in the plan are:

Immediately convene a working group of state legislators and city officials to meet with Hartford residents aged 16 to 29 to develop plans to address their concerns.

Propose and encourage legislation to address inequities in the criminal justice system that affect citizens of "certain economic and racial backgrounds."

Support and encourage passage of anti-gun legislation.

Support the creation of a city Young Adult Commission for residents aged 15 to 25 to examine the needs of that population.

"Our young people are trying to figure out what the American dream is because it doesn't seem to apply to them," said Kirkley-Bey.

Though the legislators said in a press release that "violence has reached record levels" in Hartford, city officials have repeatedly pointed out that the number of serious crimes is lower this year to date, compared with 2004, in all categories but homicide. There have been 10 homicides, compared with six reported from January to mid-May last year.

Seven of the homicide victims, however, have been 23 years old or younger, raising concerns about violence among and against youths in the city.

According to Hartford police statistics, there have been 57 shooting incidents, with 64 shooting victims, reported between Jan. 1 and May 14 of this year - a significant increase from this time last year.

Reprinted with permission of the Hartford Courant. To view other stories on this topic, search the Hartford Courant Archives at http://www.courant.com/archives.
| Last update: September 25, 2012 |
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