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NAACP decries inaction against former New London police officer

By Greg Smith

Publication: theday.com

Published August 07. 2013 5:00PM   Updated August 08. 2013 12:33AM
Tim Martin/The Day
Lance Goode, left, describes his feelings regarding his case during a press conference at the New London City Hall Wednesday, Aug. 7, 2013. Tamara Lanier, second from right, a criminal justice chairwoman of the state branch of the NAACP, and Donald Wilson, right, president of the New London branch of the NAACP listen.

New London — Members of the state and New London branches of the NAACP on Wednesday voiced their frustration with state and federal law enforcement officials who have not pursued criminal charges against a former New London police officer accused of planting drugs at the scene of a 2010 arrest.

In a press conference at New London City Hall, Don Wilson, president of the New London NAACP, stood with Lance Goode, the New London man who claims he was falsely arrested in 2010 after former police Officer Roger Newton planted drugs. Newton has since resigned.

"I'm baffled. People need to know when it comes to our civil rights, we don't have anybody in our corner," Wilson said. "We're going to keep pushing."

Wilson and Tamara Lanier, the criminal justice chairwoman of the state NAACP, met last week with officials at the U.S. Attorney's office, where they said they were told a criminal indictment would not be forthcoming against Newton.

They are still hoping the criminal case gets a second look, however, and that federal officials consider a host of civil complaints, which included racial profiling, that came forward against the police department as a result of Goode's case.

"We haven't given up on Lance's matter," Lanier said. "I don't think this is over. I want citizens to feel their voices are being heard, and they're not being disenfranchised."

Goode said his case against the department is bolstered by a video he claims shows Newton dropping a bag of pills at the scene of his arrest. He has a pending civil suit against Newton and the police department.

Goode, who has a criminal record, said he's been the subject of harassment by police for years and was previously the victim of a police dog bite.

"In all fairness, me being a convicted felon has nothing to do with that video," Goode said. "I didn't have any narcotics. My record's my record, but I'm still a human being. I deserve respect like everyone else does."

Goode said he lives in fear of police and, aside from work, rarely leaves the house.

Lanier said that her hope is someone doesn't get killed or seriously hurt by police before officials take the complaints seriously.

Both Lanier and Wilson said they are attempting to enlist local legislators to apply pressure on their behalf.

"Without oversight or accountability, what incentive is there for change?" she said.

g.smith@theday.com

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