State police seek who leaked documents about New London officer

A screen grab from a New London police cruiser's camera footage shows Officer Deana Nott apparently striking Adonis Smith, who was handcuffed, in the face on June 22, 2016. Smith, who ultimately was convicted of third-degree assault, had yelled obscenities at the officers and fought their attempts to place him in the car.
A screen grab from a New London police cruiser's camera footage shows Officer Deana Nott apparently striking Adonis Smith, who was handcuffed, in the face on June 22, 2016. Smith, who ultimately was convicted of third-degree assault, had yelled obscenities at the officers and fought their attempts to place him in the car.

New London — State police are trying to find out who leaked documents about Officer Deana Nott to The Day last month, police confirmed this week.

State police wouldn’t say why they opened an investigation into the leak of the material, which detailed an incident in which Nott allegedly struck a handcuffed man in the face. Police did say the investigation is in the hands of Central District Major Crime detectives.

New London acting police Chief Peter Reichard said his department did not enlist state police to look into what happened. Reichard, noting that he is being investigated like everyone else in the building, declined to comment further.

A spokesman for the Chief State’s Attorney’s Office said the agency had no comment.

City police administrators were surprised last month when The Day informed them it had the materials. There are two investigations into Nott’s behavior — one by city police and the other by the Chief State's Attorney's Office — and both remain active.

Reichard at the time said the property could be considered stolen from the department, meaning the leaker could face criminal charges.

The documents detail a June 2016 incident in which a man named Adonis Smith allegedly assaulted a person at 17 Grand St. before running from the building and into officers. Cruiser camera footage picks up Smith yelling obscenities at the officers as he was being cuffed, then fighting their attempts to place him in the car.

At the time Nott appears to hit Smith in the face, Smith is fully in the cruiser.

According to the city police documents, two of Nott’s supervisors determined in October 2016 that her use of force was out of line. It was their findings that prompted the state’s attorney’s investigation. City police later began their own investigation after getting the OK from the state’s attorney’s office.

Reached by phone, police union President Todd Lynch said it’s good to know a state police team is on the case because its detectives are “very knowledgeable and able to handle something like this.”

Lynch didn’t want to talk about potential discipline. The leaker could be a member of the union, he pointed out, and, more importantly, decisions about discipline are made over his head.

Still, Lynch said, he hopes the leaker is discovered and held accountable.

“This affected not only an internal investigation,” he said, “it affected a criminal investigation, and whoever did it obviously wasn’t authorized to do so.”

The last major leak out of the New London Police Department came in 2013, when former Officer David McElroy — he was vice president of the union at the time — was accused of divulging details to the media about a reported summertime rape.

The details led to a contentious, regionwide debate about public safety in the city. A police investigation later determined the rape never happened.

McElroy, who maintained his innocence, was fired in December 2013 before being rehired in March 2014 — the result of negotiations related to pending union grievances.

Just seven months later, facing a charge of workers’ compensation fraud, McElroy resigned. He ultimately pleaded no contest to two counts of fourth-degree larceny and agreed to pay $25,000 in restitution.

l.boyle@theday.com

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