Hartford hit and run video. People did try to help

More from Colin McEnroe, Hartford CT talk show host and Hartford Courant blogger, on the hit and run video and how the Hartford Chief of Police shot his mouth off without knowing the facts and that this made the media firestorm much worse.

I’m quoting extensively without comments because McEnroe says it all. He’s a real journalist, fun to read, often quite humorous, and totally unafraid to take on the biggies.

Before you judge the people on Park Street, try to imagine living in place where there’s gang violence, where a 71-year-old civic leader can be beaten within an inch of his life in broad daylight, where the incident you’ve just seen involved two cars in some kind of high-speed inter-criminal chase.

If you’re a good person, you’d still get into the street. And people did. But maybe you learn, as a matter of survival, the reflexive habit of waiting a couple of seconds to to make sure bullets aren’t already flying.

And this

Everybody now also “knows” about the case of Angel Arce Torres. A hit-and-run driver struck down the 78-year-old man on Park Street last Friday. And nobody did anything. Nobody even called 911. This story has aired on television screens all over the world now. “Jim from Baltimore” wrote a lengthy comment on my blog. Part of it said: “This whole situation is a problem caused by the citizens of Hartford. This hit-and-run made local news in Baltimore this morning and the first thing they pointed out was how nobody had even bothered to call 911 or help the man in the street.”

There were at least four phone calls to 911 in the first minute after the accident. The callers asked for medical help and described the hit-and-run car and the direction it was headed in. Sorry, Jim, but the people of Park Street handled that part as well as the people of [upscale, high income] Blue Back Square would have.

Where did Jim — and millions of others — get that wrong information? From Hartford Police Chief Daryl Roberts, who had a public temper tantrum on Wednesday. He lumped together the hit-and-run, the savage beating of former Deputy Mayor Nick Carbone on Monday and the Wednesday discovery of the dead (but apparently not murdered) body of a man in the basement of his family’s foreclosed home.

Roberts on Wednesday said he had no idea whether anyone called 911 about Torres. Predictably, that got translated into “no one called 911; no one did anything.” I was on an exercise machine at the Y and Contessa Brewer from MSNBC was talking about “the Hartford video.” She asked, “What is wrong with people?”

You could say that Roberts spoke “in the heat of the moment” without having a chance to find out about the four 911 calls, but the accident was on May 30. Roberts had his tantrum on June 4.

I live here. There are good people and bad people. I want the chief and the mayor and the governor to get out in the streets and hold community forums and lift the spirits of the good people and give them the courage to help the cops get the bad people.

Roberts seems to think that average people are more likely to cooperate with the police if he spits on them and denounces them. I don’t see how that’s going to work. Meanwhile, shooting his mouth off without all the facts, he turned us into the Kew Gardens of 2008.

Someone needs to give Colin McEnroe a journalism award. He deserves one.

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