Hartford police officer was suspended for failing to investigate 2018 hit-and-run, lying in report

·3 min read

A Hartford police officer who lied in his report about a hit-and-run incident in 2018 received a weeklong suspension, according to records released last week.

Officer Darren Ransom served the unpaid suspension in December 2019, after he pleaded guilty to the internal affairs charges of neglect of duty and violation of the code of conduct, according to the disciplinary report. He’d intentionally failed to follow up on the incident and willfully made false entries in his official report, the internal investigator concluded.

By Ransom’s own admission to the investigator, he had the plate number, owner’s name and address of the vehicle that struck the complainant’s car, but “figured her insurance company could take care of the damages so he didn’t need to do anything more with the investigation.”

The case is also before the Civilian Police Review Board.

Ransom responded to the incident in the early hours of Nov. 12, 2018, in the parking lot of a South Meadows nightclub. A woman had left the club to find paint damage on her mother’s Honda Accord, with matching scuffs on a car parked right behind it.

She told Ransom that she took photos of the damage and waited until the owner came outside. The suspect admitting scraping the Honda and agreed to exchange information, but instead she made to leave and drove off after a brief argument with the victim.

While the victim showed Ransom a picture of the plate number, he wrote in his report that she “told him the suspect vehicle left in such a hurry, she was unable to retrieve a marker plate number.” He closed the report for lack of information.

In fact, Ransom later insisted he did look up the plate number and that it turned up no information. Later, he told internal affairs he didn’t know why he didn’t follow up and that he may have searched the wrong number.

“NCIC (National Crime Information Center) records confirmed this was a lie,” the internal investigator stated.

Ransom actually looked up the victim’s plate number that night, which came back with information about her mother, the owner of the Honda, records showed.

Three days later, the mother called Ransom and gave him the suspect’s plate number again. He looked it up and found the vehicle’s owner and address, but lied to the mother, telling her the results of his search came back “no information found.”

The case remained closed until the mother called Lt. Brian Bowsza, the department’s chief of staff, in December to report that there were discrepancies in Ransom’s report and that he wasn’t returning her calls.

Ransom was on vacation, so Bowsza emailed him to tell him to follow up when he returned. However, Ransom later claimed he didn’t remember getting any email.

Four months later, the mother filed a formal citizen complaint, prompting Ransom to reopen the case. He looked up the suspect’s vehicle again on May 15, 2019, and notified police in Windsor to check the suspect’s address, according to his supplemental report.

The investigator stated that Ransom was attempting now to complete the investigation “only because a citizen’s complaint was lodged against him.”

“This is not an acceptable practice,” the report concluded.

Ransom did not return a request for comment.

Rebecca Lurye can be reached at rlurye@courant.com.


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