BRIDGEPORT, Conn. -- A former Bridgeport police officer who claimed he had found a racially charged hate letter in his mailbox was charged Wednesday with writing the letter himself.
Clive Higgins, 50, of Naugatuck was charged with second-degree falsely reporting an incident. He was released on a promise to appear in court on Dec. 16.
On Feb. 9, Higgins reported that he found a piece of racially motivated hate mail in his personal mailbox at the Bridgeport Police Department. The letter had been printed on official police letterhead. Higgins told investigators that the letter included language such as "We know where you live" and that he was in fear for his safety after reading it, according to state police. He also wrote a memo in which he said the letter shows there is discrimination in the Bridgeport Police Department.
Higgins said that after finding the letter, he contacted the president of the Guardians, a minority officer group to which he belonged. The president advised him to leave the building immediately for his own safety, and Higgins said that he complied.
After Bridgeport police conducted an internal investigation, the matter was turned over to state police, who reviewed surveillance footage of the station from the morning of the incident. State police said that video appeared to show Higgins making a photocopy of a piece of paper in the records room that resembled the hate letter he claimed to have later found in his mailbox. Higgins was also seen laughing on the video, and did not appear to be in fear for his own safety, according to state police.
When state police interviewed Higgins, he admitted that he had typed it up himself and printed it out in the booking room, according to police reports. When asked why, Higgins shook his head and made comments such as, "I don't want to be labelled a rat," according to state police.
Higgins then told state police investigators that the president of the guardians, a lieutenant, had requested he write the letter to bring attention to the department with respect to ongoing racial complaints, according to state police.
When state police interviewed the lieutenant, he denied that he had been involved or had any knowledge of the writing of the letter prior to Higgins telling him about it, state police said. He also told state police that he did not care about the color of the person who wrote the letter, and that he wanted the behavior and culture at the department to change, according to police reports.
A warrant was issued for Higgins's arrest and he turned himself in to police on Wednesday.
Earlier this year Higgins was found not guilty of violating a person's civil rights by using unreasonable force after video surfaced of him beating a suspect during a May 2011 arrest.
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