New London police won't release compactor death investigation, citing possible 'law enforcement action'

New London — Nearly two months after a 59-year-old New London man died at the city transfer station, the police department’s investigation remains open and the department will not reveal what information it has gleaned.

The department denied The Day’s request for the incident report and investigative materials concerning the Jan. 30 death of Floyd Smeeton, citing an exemption within the Freedom of Information Act that allows for withholding of information that “would not be in the public interest because it would result in the disclosure of ... information to be used in a prospective law enforcement action if prejudicial to such action.”

Smeeton died after apparently falling into a trash compactor at the city’s transfer station on Lewis Street. Smeeton’s estate has notified the city of its intent to file a wrongful death lawsuit.

The state Department of Labor’s Division of Occupational Health and Safety (Conn-OSHA) concluded its investigation of the conditions at the transfer station earlier this month. Conn-OSHA cited the city for one willful violation and two serious violations and fined the city more than $10,000.

— Colin A. Young

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