Investigation Finds Hartford Police Officer and Supervisor Negligent in Assault of State Rep. Maryam Khan

Hartford Police Officer and Supervisor Face Discipline for Omissions in Assault Report

An external investigation has determined that a Hartford police officer and a supervisor should face disciplinary action for omitting crucial details from their reports regarding the assault of state Representative Maryam Khan after a Muslim prayer service last year. However, the investigation found no evidence to support accusations of mishandling the case or cavalier treatment of Khan by the police.

The Civilian Police Review Board recently voted to sustain charges against the patrol officer who handled Khan’s complaint and the sergeant who was supervising. In an unexpected move, the board also overrode Inspector General Liam Brennan’s findings and upheld a neglect of duty charge against another sergeant who was present at the scene.

However, the board rejected 19 proposed charges against a total of six officers involved in the case, concluding that the accusation of failure to provide medical attention was unfounded. The City police are currently conducting an Internal Affairs investigation, and once it is completed, Chief Jason Thody will decide on the appropriate course of action based on the recommendations from both the Internal Affairs investigation and the review board’s conclusions.

This incident gained statewide attention due to Khan being the first Muslim state legislator in Connecticut. The attack occurred on June 28, 2023, as Khan and her family were leaving an Eid al-Adha prayer service at the XL Center. Khan expressed her dissatisfaction with the police response, citing inadequate security measures at the prayer service, dismissive treatment of her complaint, and reluctance by emergency medical technicians to acknowledge her neck injury sustained during the altercation.

According to reports, the encounter unfolded when a belligerent man approached Khan, her two daughters, her sister, and a friend, making inappropriate suggestions. After Khan’s daughters returned to the center, the man put his arm around her neck and attempted to kiss her. When she resisted, he slapped her across the face, causing her to fall to the ground. Khan immediately sought help from the police, while bystanders held the assailant, later identified as 30-year-old Andrey Desmond, until officers arrived and arrested him.

Khan held a press conference to voice her grievances, expressing concern for other women in Hartford who experience physical or sexual assault. The Internal Affairs investigation was initiated based on her complaint, and Inspector General Liam Brennan reported to the review board that the patrol officer handling the case failed to mention the presence of Khan’s children when Desmond initially approached. Brennan further criticized Officer Timothy Rogers for omitting important details from his report, though he clarified that it did not constitute misconduct or willful negligence.

Brennan’s report also debunked Khan’s claims that police left the ceremony prematurely. According to the report, officers were scheduled to provide security until 11 a.m., which was half an hour after the service concluded. Khan’s encounter occurred several minutes after this timeframe. Additionally, Brennan dismissed Khan’s complaint that she was directed to identify the suspect two blocks away from the XL Center, stating that without probable cause, police were limited to detaining Desmond rather than transporting him to Khan.

Although Brennan found fault with the officers’ incomplete reports, sustaining “neglect of duty” charges against Officer Rogers and Sergeant Johnathon Rowe, further disciplinary action will depend on the findings of the ongoing police internal investigation and Chief Thody’s agreement. If Thody does not concur, the review board may involve an independent arbitrator to resolve the case.

In conclusion, the investigation has highlighted the need for improved reporting practices within the Hartford Police Department. The case has shed light on the challenges faced by victims of assault and the delicate balance between protecting the rights of the accused and addressing the traumatic experiences of victims.

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