House Approves Doug Glanville Bill In Hartford

Hartford Courant
May 5, 2015
by Christopher Keating


HARTFORD –  The state House of Representatives voted Tuesday for a bill that explicitly prevents police from crossing town lines to enforce a local ordinance or municipal code violation.
The bill stems from a high-profile incident involving former Major League baseball player and ESPN analyst Doug Glanville, a Hartford resident who was questioned by a West Hartford police officer in February 2014 while he was shoveling snow in his own driveway. The officer had been investigating an incident in West Hartford and spilled over into Hartford's West End in what neighbors say is a fairly common practice of police spilling over the border.
The officer approached Glanville and said, "So, you trying to make a few extra bucks, shoveling people's driveways around here?''
The measure passed by 109 to 38 with four members absent. Two House Democrats joined with 36 Republicans in voting against the bill.
The issue became nationally known when Glanville, who appears regularly on national TV, wrote an essay titled, "I Was Racially Profiled in My Own Driveway,'' in The Atlantic magazine in April 2014.
In Glanville's case, the white West Hartford officer had been investigating the report of a man who had been shoveling a driveway during the snowy winter of 2014 in West Hartford. That move had violated a West Hartford ordinance that prevents such door-to-door solicitation without a permit. The suspect's description was a black man in his 40s who was carrying a snow shovel and wearing a brown jacket.
But Glanville on that day was wearing a black jacket as he was shoveling snow in front of his house in Hartford's West End - within walking distance of the West Hartford border.
The bill on the ordinance enforcement was introduced by Rep. Matthew Ritter of Hartford, who described Glanville as "a neighbor of mine and a friend.'' The West Hartford police officer came into Hartford with "no warrant, not in pursuit,'' Ritter said. "Nothing criminal occurred.''
Ritter, who grew up in Hartford's West End and still lives there, said that he was "proudly born there and raised there and will raise my children there.''
"When we see something that should not happen in 2014 or 2015, we should respond,'' Ritter said of the bill. "If someone robs a CVS in one town and is pursuing them into another town, this bill has nothing to do with that. … The ordinance was for door-to-door solicitation.''
"I'm sure there are some of you in this room who made money shoveling snow'' in their youth, Ritter told his House colleagues.
"It was one of the darkest and worst days in the city of Hartford in a long time,'' Ritter said.
Some lawmakers – both Republican and Democrat - questioned whether the bill would be effectively handcuffing the police and generating a "chilling effect'' as they were trying to enforce the laws.
Rep. Joseph Verrengia, a retired West Hartford police officer who opposed the bill, said, "What I'm concerned about is oftentimes police, on some of the simplest and most minor infractions, come across people [wanted] for a more serious charge.''
He added that he was opposing the bill because he does not believe the bill will make people safer.
Rep. J.P. Sredzinski, a Monroe Republican who works as a police dispatching supervisor, said he was concerned that police officers might be "second-guessing themselves'' when doing their jobs because of the new law.
Rep. Dan Carter, a Bethel Republican who opposed the bill, said, "The minute they cross that town line, we can't touch him. … I kind of have an issue with that. ... In some places, ordinances are very important.''
The bill does not apply to Connecticut state troopers, who routinely cross town lines in the course of their jobs.
Ritter said he was hoping to "highlight the problem'' of similar incidents.
"I love my chief in Hartford,'' Ritter said on the House floor. "I talk to the police all the time. … Too often, we have conflict over minor things, and they escalate very, very quickly. Door to door solicitation? We don't need to be sending people across town lines for that. … I just want to clarify state law.''
Republished from The Hartford Courant.


Motivational Speaker

Click here to learn more about having Doug speak at your next event!




The Daddy Games

Check out Doug's blog, The Daddy Games.  Click here to read more.