Justice Served: The Hartford News



After 6 years in a nightmare of legal limbo due to a false 911 call, Christopher Dukes has prevailed in Connecticut Supreme Court.


Background: In April 2018,  the late-night quiet on Monroe Street in Hartford’s South End was suddenly broken when fire trucks showed up followed by Hartford police cruisers,  and yellow tape blocked off access to the street. In a second story window, resident Christopher Dukes appeared. He had no idea what was going on, but as a tall and heavy-set Black man he was wary of police due to incidents between Black men and police across the country that had ended tragically. His two children were asleep, and his wife was not in the house. But a few minutes later he saw her running toward the cruiser from the other end of the street, clad in bathrobe and pajamas. Dukes said that was when he realized he had been set up to be “swatted”.  Within minutes he had called HPD--called several times--but it took over an hour before  they showed up. In the interim he called family members, clergy, and friends. In his job as Director of Student Conduct at Central Connecticut State University he’d had extensive threat assessment training and put it to use. He stuck his hands out of the window to show he was not holding a gun, but recent media articles have incorrectly headlined the incident as an “armed standoff”. The same media have also quoted Dukes as telling the police “Many people will be hurt”, as if he were going to open fire. Also false because police recorded only part of what he actually said; “I am so sorry for all the people who will be hurt by this”, referring to his family, neighbors, and friends and the emotional impact of his swatting. And the bottom line is that Chris’s ex-wife had made a false 911 call—a felony--telling HPD her husband was threatening to kill her and then himself, that he was drunk, that he’d strangled her, dragged her to the basement, and bound her up with duct tape. All of those assertions were eventually proved to be false.  Dukes was arrested, jailed, and spent years wearing an ankle monitor. But the biggest blow was when that false narrative was headlined in the Hartford Courant a day later, CCSU immediately placed Dukes on paid administrative leave and then fired hid him in December 2018. Sloppy media coverage that took her assertions at face value contributed to his woes. All the charges against Dukes were eventually dismissed. (If you would like to  read full details about all the evidence and findings in the case from  the Hartford News 3-part story, go to hartfordpublications.com and click on the archive from 2022 where they first appeared.) The Good News: As of last week, after many court appearances, Christopher Dukes finally won his case against CCSU. The CT Supreme Court ordered the university to make him whole with  back pay for the 5 ½ years after his firing. In addition, the court also ruled that he was to be returned to his position as Director of Student Conduct. An arbitrator from CCSU  had made the same order in 2022 but it was vacated by the State.

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