The Connecticut State Police Union claims Lt. Colonel Robert Corona, the second highest ranking member of the state police, ordered the destruction of video from his cruiser and the state police are protecting him because of his rank.
“At no time did the Lt. Colonel, in any capacity, at any time, ask to have evidence destroyed,” said Lt. J. Paul Vance, state police spokesperson.
The state police union president says Corona told him the incident in question occurred when he forgot to turn off his wireless microphone upon returning to the Department of Public Safety headquarters for a meeting.
“There was a conversation that he personally did not believe should have been a public record. So, he gave a directive to someone to erase the tape and it was erased,” said Andrew Matthews, president of the union.
But, did the Lt. Colonel have the authority to order this material erased?
“The only person that has the authority, under Connecticut General Statute 11-8, is the state librarian, of the state of Connecticut, who makes the determination what records, what public records are destroyed,” added Matthews.
Vance says past practices, relative to any trooper that may have committed a slight infraction, has been a three to five-day suspension. But, Corona opted for retirement instead of accepting the suspension. Meanwhile, Matthews says a union member, who committed a similar infraction, was offered a 20 day suspension.
“That suspension is held in abeyance to allow him to retire. That has been done in the past,” said Vance.
The investigation dragged on for 15 months, but Vance says the state’s attorney’s office faced unusual circumstances.
“There were a couple major medical issues that were involved with people who were necessary to be present in part of this event,” added Vance.