A year and a day after Michael Brown’s shooting death in Missouri, Gov. Dannel P. Malloy held a ceremonial bill signing for a law inspired by a non-violent racial incident here involving a police officer and a former Major League Baseball player.
Malloy apologized Monday to Doug Glanville, the former MLB player who now works as an analyst for ESPN, for what happened to him in his driveway last winter. But Malloy reminded Glanville that the incident gave rise to an important piece of legislation, and he thanked Glanville for being public about the altercation.
A first-person essay about the encounter was titled Shoveling While Black and was published by The Atlantic in April 2014.
Glanville, a Hartford resident, was shoveling his driveway when he was approached by a West Hartford police officer. The police officer had crossed the town line looking for a person shoveling driveways who, according to a caller, had been peddling his services in violation of West Hartford’s solicitation ban.
“A possible violation by someone gave rise to you being hassled in your driveway, which doesn’t make any sense,” Malloy said. “Part of what we have to do in the state of Connecticut is be vigilant about understanding the implications of racial overtones.”
Malloy said both the bill itself, and the conversation inspired by Glanville, were both important.
The new law makes it illegal for municipal police to cross municipal borders to enforce a local ordinance.
Glanville said it’s important the state has recognized there’s clarifications to make in existing law.
He said every time he told the story of what happened on that February day he was forced to relive the experience. But he thinks the end result will help avoid the situation in the future.
“It takes the spirit of the community and people educating and rallying behind something to make it effective,” Glanville said. “I think the spirit of it addresses the engagement and interactions at the early stages of law enforcement and its citizens.”
He said he recognizes it’s a small clarification in some respects, but “it can be big if we continue to look at what’s happening in our country and figure out a way where Connecticut can be proactive and that’s the most important thing.”