Naugatuck, CT – Town officials have launched multiple investigations into reports that the Naugatuck police chief’s daughter sent racist Snapchat messages two years ago.
The messages were allegedly sent by Naugatuck Police Chief Steven Hunt’s then-14-year-old daughter to a former friend two years ago, WFSB reported.
“I’ll make my dad drive with lights and sirens and if we see any black people we will shoot them,” one of the messages shared with the public said.
“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,” read another.
The boy who released the Snapchat messages and said they were sent by Chief Hunt’s daughter claimed his intentions were pure, WFSB reported.
“This is not something I’m doing out of spite, but something I’m doing out of care for the Town of Naugatuck because they no longer should be lied to,” Jake Stankiewicz, now 16, said.
Stankiewicz claimed he didn’t know he still had the messages until he found them saved recently.
“They were sent to me, I had screenshotted them, and was told to delete them as I did, but they were backed into my iCloud, which I discovered yesterday,” he explained.
Stankiewicz said the chief’s daughter was 14 when she sent the messages and he believed it was a joke, WFSB reported.
That said, the 16 year old said his goal was to expose racism.
“I just hope people in positions of power are more accountable for their actions and we can do something to combat the rampant racism everywhere,” Stankiewicz said.
Naugatuck Mayor Warren Hess confirmed the images included with the messages were of Chief Hunt’s daughter, WFSB reported.
“The pictures and statements were from about two years ago,” Hess told WFSB.
He said that three separate investigations had been launched in response to the release of the messages.
The mayor said there will be an internal investigation, an independent investigation, and a Board of Education investigation because Chief Hunt’s wife is the vice principal of the local high school, WFSB reported.
Hess said that neither the chief nor his wife, Johnna Hunt, had been placed on leave while the investigations were conducted despite calls for Chief Hunt’s resignation from some in the community.
Town officials praised Chief Hunt and his wife in a joint statement released on Friday night, WFSB reported.
“It’s obviously disconcerting. It’s a family issue. I’m sure they’re home right now working on it,” Hess said.
Chief Hunt and his wife released a statement on Saturday and called their daughter’s messages “despicable in nature and inexcusable,” WFSB reported.
“We condemn the comments made in these messages,” the statement read in part. “In no way, shape or form do they reflect our hearts, minds or the love we have for all our neighbors in this inclusive community. These words do not represent the words spoken in our home or the values and lessons we have taught our children.”
The parents apologized for their daughter’s actions, WFSB reported.
“We cannot soothe or erase the pain caused by the words and images seen by many,” they wrote. “On behalf of our family, we sincerely apologize to all those who were hurt by this. 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. While we fully intend to hold our daughter accountable for her mistakes, we will continue to offer her the same unconditional love any parent would show a child who has erred but showed remorse.”
They said they regretted having their daughter be the focus of a “teachable moment” but hoped she and others would learn that “in the age of social media, our words and actions can be scrutinized for all to see. Hurtful and racist comments will live long after they are made.”
The parents said they were ashamed of the incident, WFSB reported.