Union alleges Lt. Colonel ordered video to be destroyed - KCTV5

Union alleges Lt. Colonel ordered video to be destroyed

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Robert Corona ( Photo courtesy of Norwich Bulletin) Robert Corona ( Photo courtesy of Norwich Bulletin)
MIDDLETOWN, CT (WFSB) -

The Connecticut State Police Union is accusing commissioner Reuben F. Bradford and Colonel Danny R. Stebbins claimed they played favorites and protecting their own.

Union officials on Tuesday questioned why Lt. Colonel Robert Corona, who is the second-highest ranking member of the Connecticut State Police force, ordered the alleged destruction of an audio recording.

Union officials allege Corona forgot to turn off his microphone from the dash cam video in his cruiser following a motor vehicle stop in June 2012. When he came back to headquarters, Corona conducted an executive staff meeting with the microphone still on.

"There was conversations he personally did not believe it should've been a public record, so he gave the directive to someone to erase the tape ," said Sgt. Andrews Weaver, who is the union president for Connecticut State Police at a press conference Tuesday afternoon.

Union officials said Corona and those who allowed the actions has gone undisciplined for the past 16 months.

"It's unfair to the public and to our agency to have a high ranking official make a decision to erase public record," Weaver said.

Officials said that when the union started to question the lengthy delay in the process, they were informed that investigation was conducted and completed. State police spokesman said the investigation took longer than expected, part of that was because of unforeseen outside circumstances.

State police said in cases similar to Corona's, troopers with a clean record could retire instead of taking a suspension. If Corona was to return to the state police, he would have to serve the suspension.

"We're here today because we believe there's a lack of transparency, favoritism within state police high ranks," Weaver said.

If Corona were to face any discipline, he would only have to serve a three to five day suspension, Connecticut State Police Spokesman Lt. Paul Vance said.

"It was not a violation of state law, that was deemed by the Chief State's Attorney Office," Vance said. "It was the breaking of an in house rule. It didn't raise to the level of being criminal in any capacity."

Weaver said he "disputed" the statements by Vance.

Union officials said another member was given a 20-day suspension because officials said they believed he intentionally was turning his microphone on and off during motor vehicle stops.

"We believe commissioner and colonel refused to take the appropriate action that they would have if same allegations came out involving one of our members," Weaver said.

Union officials said that their sources from within Connecticut State Police told them that Corona's conduct was investigated and they concluded he did violate agency police. However, the statement said, both Connecticut State Police and the Office of the Chief State's Attorney have refused to release information regarding the investigation.

"We're asking governor (Dannel P. Malloy) to ensure fairness of the process, to make sure managers are held as accountable as our members," Weaver said.

The governor said he was aware that union officials "sent a letter and filed a complaint."

"I generally don't get involved in departmental disciplinary hearings," Malloy said.

Corona was not entrusting with speaking to Eyewitness News.

To read the full letter that was sent by union officials to Malloy, click here.

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