Investigations launched into 'racist' social media posts attributed to police chief's daughter

File photo of police car lights. Flashing Lights on Police Car

File photo of police car lights. Flashing Lights on Police Car

Jacom Stephens / Getty Image

NAUGATUCK — Multiple investigations are ongoing after racial comments made by Police Chief Steven Hunt’s daughter emerged on social media, prompting condemnations from officials and an apology from the chief and his wife.

Saturday night, Hunt and his wife, Naugatuck High School Vice Principal Johnna Minicucci Hunt, said in a statement that the posts were made by their daughter two years ago when she was 13 years old.

“We cannot soothe or erase the pain caused by the words and images seen by many. On behalf of our family, we sincerely apologize to all those who were hurt by this,” the Hunts’ statement read. “We are left, however, as parents of a scared, regretful child who has and will continue to suffer the consequences of her poor and inexcusable actions.”

Investigations are underway after social media posts from a member of Naugatuck Police Chief Steven Hunt's family surfaced online Friday. The posts were described in a statement from town officials as

Investigations are underway after social media posts from a member of Naugatuck Police Chief Steven Hunt's family surfaced online Friday. The posts were described in a statement from town officials as “disgusting and totally inappropriate.”

Contributed

In the joint statement issued Friday evening, Borough of Naugatuck Mayor N. Warren Hess, Police Commission Chairman Ralph Roper Jr. and Deputy Chief of Police C. Colin McAllister called the comments “disgusting and totally inappropriate.”

An internal police investigation is proceeding, and officials are simultaneously “in the process of bringing in assistance from the outside to conduct a comprehensive and independent investigation,” a statement released by town officials Friday said. “In addition, the Board of Education is currently conducting a separate investigation.”

Investigations are underway after social media posts from a member of Naugatuck Police Chief Steven Hunt's family surfaced online Friday. The posts were described in a statement from town officials as

Investigations are underway after social media posts from a member of Naugatuck Police Chief Steven Hunt's family surfaced online Friday. The posts were described in a statement from town officials as “disgusting and totally inappropriate.”

Contributed

Reached by phone Saturday afternoon, Hess confirmed the posts contained photos of the chief’s daughter and that they were sent to authorities by another minor.

One of the posts appears to reference Hunt’s appointment as police chief, which occurred March 1, 2019.

Hess said there are three investigations ongoing — one by the school district, another by the town and a third by an independent group.

“The town is doing one, and then also we’ve hired an outside investigator,” he said, adding that the town and third-party investigations are each being conducted by outside law firms.

Hess said Hunt has not been placed on leave or suspended from his duties.

The Hunts’ statement released Saturday said they condemn the comments in the messages and they do not “reflect our hearts, minds or the love we have for all our neighbors,” or how they have raised their children.

“No parent wishes their child to be the primary actor in a ‘teachable moment,’ but there are lessons to be learned. In the age of social media, our words and actions can be scrutinized for all to see,” the couple said. “Hurtful and racist comments will live long after they are made.”

“In Naugatuck and at the police department, we condemn any act of racism or bigotry, in any form at any time,” the town’s statement said. “Racism and bigotry are totally inconsistent with our values and who we are as a town and a police department.”

The comments, which are not explicitly detailed in either the town or the Hunts’ statements, refer to Hunt and suggest he would use his position to harm Black people.

“I’ll make my dad drive with lights and sirens and if we see any black people we will shoot them,” one post said, according to WFSB and other media reports.

“My dad is now officially police chief so that means he’s more advanced in shooting black people then (sic) he just was a couple minutes ago,” another reads.

“These comments are not consistent with Police Chief Hunt’s character and leadership of the department as well as the values he has instilled in our Police Department,” the town’s statement says. “Also, Mrs. Johnna Hunt has always been a model citizen and a great example for the youth of the community.”

Flyers circulated online Saturday are promoting a peaceful protest and student walk-out on Tuesday and Wednesday.

“I cannot imagine the pain it causes our students, especially those of color,” Naugatuck High School Principal John Harris said in a Friday email to parents, saying he was “committed” to “investigating the incident and holding students accountable for their actions.”

Paul Singley, a member of the Naugatuck Police Commission, said on Facebook that he considers the Hunts to be “close friends.”

“We know their character. We know they do not condone this talk or behavior in their household,” wrote Singley, who is a teacher and whose wife works for the Naugatuck school system. “And we know their daughters, all three of whom have always shown themselves to be fine young ladies in our presence.”