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RELEASE: Family Members of Katherine Colon Gather with Community Groups for March and Press Conference to Demand Information and Transparency Related to Katherine’s Tragic Death 

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Wednesday, October 25th, 2023

Contact:  Yonah Zeitz, yonah@katalcenter.org | (347) 201-2768

Follow online: #JusticeforKatherine | www.katalcenter.org 

Family Members of Katherine Colon Gather with Community Groups for March and Press Conference to Demand Information and Transparency Related to Katherine’s Tragic Death 

Colon was Killed Last Month by a New Britain Police Officer and the Family Demands Accountability from the City of New Britain

New Britain,CT— Today, the family of Katherine Colon, along with community groups and members, held a march, rally, and vigil in New Britain to demand information and transparency related to her tragic death. On September 21, 2023, Katherine Colon was struck by a speeding police car in New Britain, CT. The Mayor of New Britain has not contacted the family, and the family has been told by the police department that they’ll have to wait months before getting any answers about Katherine’s tragic death. 

As part of today’s action, the group marched from Saint George Church, the site of the horrific incident, to Central Park in downtown New Britain, where they held a vigil and press conference, demanding accountability from the City of New Britain. Katherin’s children, family, friends, and community members are distraught over the injustice of losing her to a sudden, violent, and senseless death. At the press conference, the lawyer of the family, loved ones, and community groups discussed the urgent need to get justice for Katherine. 

Statements from the family of Katherine Colon:

Maribel Rodriguez, Katherine Colon’s daughter and community organizer at the Katal Center for Equity, Health, and Justice, said: “This could’ve happened to any of us. My mother’s life was not disposable. She was my other half, my best friend, and the only person who understood me. The same system I fight against is the same system that stole her youth and is the same system that took her life with no justification. She should be here with me, fighting the fight for justice the way she told me she would, and this infuriates me. My mother was compassionate, loving, and resilient, and I miss her so much. She was not a woman whose life could be taken like it was nothing. Our whole family demands answers and transparency throughout this investigation! Why does it take this long to investigate a tragedy involving police, but when officers are impacted, investigations only take a few days or weeks? In Hartford, the mayor takes less than 24 hours to post footage of incidents between police and residents to be transparent, unlike our mayor Erin Stewart who cares more about a police endorsement than her actual community. If they had something to justify this officer’s actions, the news would have been out; let’s be real. There’s nothing that will ever be able to make this right, and New Britain’s silence speaks volumes to what this city stands for, which is a system of total carceral control for all its residents.”

Maribel Candelaria, mother of Katherine Colon, said: “That was my daughter. My heart is forever broken into a million pieces. One part is filled with memories, the other parts die with her. As a mother, I can’t sleep at night knowing what the police did to my daughter. They ride around like they own the streets, speeding and harassing. I’ve never been treated with dignity or humanity by the police, but for them to take my daughter for absolutely no reason is infuriating, it makes me angry. We need accountability for what happened to my daughter.” 

Lydia Colon, Katherine Colon’s sister, said: “I’m so sad and so mad. My heart is broken. My sister was a human being, and I’m still lost in the wake of this tragedy. Katherine was a loving, caring person. She tried to help everybody. She would give you the shirt off her back if you needed it. That’s who she was. She was always helping others before she helped herself all the time. She loved dancing and she was the life of the party. She was a truly special person. Just because she was crossing the street late at night does not mean her life meant nothing. She had a loving community that cared about her. She always called me her Wonder Woman, but little did she know, she was mine.”

Daniah Sawyer, Katherine Colon’s daughter, said: “My mother was not just a statistic; she was a vibrant, loving, and irreplaceable part of our lives. She was a mother who would do anything for her family, a friend who would give without expecting in return, and someone who cherished giving, even in the absence of receiving. She was a source of strength, a source of wisdom, and a source of unwavering love. And now, she is gone, leaving behind a void that nothing can ever fill. They thought her life meant nothing, they thought she had no community, and they thought no one would care. But look around, we are her community, and we are proving that her life mattered.”

Nathaniel Colon, Katherine Colon’s son, said: “I’m so upset, but I’ve been able to make myself feel better the past few weeks. I keep thinking about how my mother would have loved this beautiful weather. I’m glad she is at peace, but at this point, I just want justice for her. The silence from Erin Stewart and the New Britain Police has been deafening. In the moments when we want to hear more information from them, we’ve heard nothing. They sit up there at the top, where they should be the loudest, but they have been the quietest.”

Tamara Lopez, Katherine Colon’s goddaughter, said: “This is wrong. What concerns me is the fact that the officer is back at work. He didn’t even get the proper discipline. He got desk duty, not even an unpaid suspension. What he did was a crime and not a regular crime; it was a murder. And the fact that we don’t have any answers yet is the problem. Why don’t we have videos of the accident? If no crime had been committed, we would have that evidence by now. It has been 36 days since the crime was committed, and we’ve heard the same information repeated over and over, that they’re still looking into what happened. And meanwhile, what is the mayor of New Britain doing? Her office is across the street from the police station, and we haven’t heard anything from her. There is a lack of concern and accountability from the city, and it’s dehumanizing and disrespectful. She was a lifelong proud New Britain resident, and New Britain doesn’t care that they killed her.” 

Mya Saldana, Katherine Colon’s niece, age 13, said: “I feel so mad. My aunt wasn’t just some person. She meant the world to me, her family, and the community she had around her. She was just crossing the street. Someone who was supposed to protect us didn’t protect her. He killed her.”

Robert Saldana, Katherine Colon’s nephew, age 12, said: “I’m mad because my aunt got killed by a police officer. I thought I could trust the police, and now I feel like I can’t. Murder is murder.” 

Stefan Napoleon, Katherine Colon’s son-in-law, said: “Katherine Colon was my mother-in-law. It was unmeasurable the amount of love she had for everyone, especially her kids. She never saw the negative in people, only the positive. Her spirit was unmatched. If anyone around her were upset, she’d find ways to uplift them. Seeing my partner and her mom interact was one of the most genuine loves I ever saw. I loved her even with the short time I spent with her. That’s the effect she had on you. We want accountability, yes the mayor should have said her condolences, but what I ultimately wish is my partner could have her mom back, and we all could be on our way to the beach singing songs in the car like we did this summer.” 

Stevey Newnez, a childhood friend of Katherine Colon, said: “That wasn’t a random lady that got killed by a Cop and his Cop car. That was my childhood friend, my childhood neighbor that then became like family. The news broke my heart. I don’t cry for everyone, but I can’t stop crying. This is devastating, and I don’t wanna kick the cop while he’s down but REALLY WATCH WHERE YOU GOING. There is a standard to uphold as a law enforcer! Like, you must have been speeding cause she didn’t even weigh that much, and that car looked wrecked! I’m sorry, but I can’t glance over it cause now I can’t sleep, and I’m having nightmares about it! I pray for the City of New Britain. I know you always do what’s right, and I know the Police Department upholds a standard! #JusticeforKatherine PERIOD cause if it was the other way around, forget it! #CorbinHeights.” 

Natasha Napoleon, family member of Katherine Colon, said: “It’s been over 1 month since Katherine’s life was selfishly taken. There haven’t been any answers, no accountability, and at the very least, NOT EVEN A CONDOLENCE from our City Mayor, Erin Stewart, who is seeking a sixth term win this November. As lifetime City of New Britain residents, Katherine Colon’s family deserves answers. Until this happens, we will continue to fight by any means necessary and honor our mother, daughter, sister, and aunt!” 

Diana Martinez, Project Manager, Cultivating Justice, said: “It has been over a month since a NBPD officer killed Katherine and changed the trajectory of her family and loved ones forever. How long would accountability take if it were an Officer run over instead of her? Katherine was proud to be from a City whose leader could not muster enough compassion for a condolence call. The residents of New Britain deserve infinitely better from people elected and/or paid to ensure their safety. Katherine’s family and her community are demanding information and accountability. This is the barest minimum City leadership could offer them. We will keep pressing for answers and justice alongside them.”  

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