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Facing an all-white command staff, New Haven clergy members demand police elevate leaders of color

Danielle Wedderburn
WSHU Public Radio

The New Haven Police Department is being criticized this week for a lack of diversity in the force’s top brass. This comes as the city’s acting police chief, Renee Dominguez, is under fire for exonerating several officers who used force during the arrest of an unarmed man earlier this year.

Black clergy members lambasted the decision. On Monday, Reverend Boise Kimbers called for the hiring of a Black assistant chief of police.

Every member of the top brass is now white after the last officer of color in leadership retired earlier this year. This is the first time the department has had an entirely white slate of chiefs, assistants and captains since 1993.

“Chief Dominguez: reevaluate your thinking. Do not let us put a badge on racism,” Kimbers said.

Dominguez has up to three assistant chief positions to fill, but has not committed to ensuring that any of them will be taken by a Black officer.

New Haven Mayor Justin Mayor nominated Dominguez to permanent chief of police after acting as the interim chief since June. She’s facing pushback from members of the city’s Civilian Review Board for her decision to waive disciplinary action for the officers that has come to the attention of the Board of Alders.

Eda Uzunlar is WSHU's Poynter Fellow for Media and Journalism.
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