The fatal shooting of 15-year-old Jayson Negron rocked the Bridgeport community, particularly because an officer of the law was responsible for his death. On Monday, protesters gathered on Hungerford Street to demand that the officer, James Boulay, be charged with murder.
Over one-third of law enforcement officer deaths in the last decade were caused by gunshots, but civilian deaths at the hands of police are making more headlines these days. Industry data shows that homes without security systems are 300% more likely to be broken into, but Negron reportedly had his sights set on a car, rather than a home. According to police, the young teen was driving a stolen vehicle in reverse when he hit at least one officer with the car. Although police had reportedly stopped the vehicle and were in the process of pulling Negron and his passenger, 21-year-old Julian Fyffe, out of the car, that’s when Bridgeport Police Officer James Boulay, a five-year member of the department, fatally shot Negron and injured Fyffe. After the shooting, Negron was allegedly pulled out of the car, handcuffed, and placed on the ground for several hours. Negron’s death was ruled a homicide; Boulay was placed on administrative leave pending the results of a state police investigation.
But the teen’s family and friends aren’t willing to risk the case being swept under the rug by the brothers in blue. They gathered this week near the state capitol, chanting “no justice, no peace” to insist additional action be taken against Boulay. They also called for the release of police surveillance video and security footage from a nearby drug store to provide a more complete picture of the incident. This footage could potentially turn this entire case on its head and settle a heated “he said/he said” dilemma.
Kerry Ellington, an organizer with People Against Police Brutality, told WHEC, “Officer Boulay acted as judge, jury and executioner for what should have been a routine traffic stop.”
Jazmarie Melendez, Negron’s sister, added that she feels the authorities are covering up the real story. “We know that they’re doing everything in their power to make Jayson look like he was in the wrong when we know that he wasn’t,” she told WHEC. “We’re tired of the lies.”
Indeed, Negron’s passenger has a different account of the events. Fyffe has insisted there was no car chase and that he and Negron were attempting to surrender at the time of the shooting. When Boulay tried to pull Negron out of the vehicle, Fyffe says, the car started moving in reverse because Negon’s foot came off the brake in the process. Fyffe alleges it was then that Boulay stepped away from the car and fired his weapon. Both driver and passenger were unarmed.
Fyffe subsequently filed a $6 million lawsuit against the police and the city of Bridgeport but later withdrew the claim. However, Negron’s father has filed a legal notice of his intent to file a wrongful death suit against the city. In addition, Boulay and other officers are being sued for their actions during a traffic stop a year ago.
Av Harris, a spokesperson for Bridgeport Mayor Joe Ganim, noted in a statement, “Mayor Ganim and the city of Bridgeport and the police department, frankly, want justice for Jayson as well. We want to know what happened, why it happened and if anything was improper, then absolutely we should be held accountable.”
Seven protesters were arrested at the rally and charged with disorderly conduct. The results of the investigation — as well as whether the officer involved will receive any criminal charges — are still pending.