A federal judge who is George W. Bush’s cousin killed a New Haven, Connecticut, police officer in a traffic accident in October, and this afternoon New Haven police decided not to pursue criminal charges. Judge John Mercer Walker Jr., a senior judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, is first cousin to former President George H.W. Bush — they share a grandfather, George Herbert Walker — and first cousin once removed to the current president. On October 17, in what a New Haven police spokeswoman termed “difficult weather conditions,” the 66-year-old Walker was driving an SUV that struck 38-year-old Officer Daniel Picagli, a seventeen-year veteran of the New Haven police department.
Picagli was working extra duty, directing traffic at a road construction site in the Wooster Square section of the city, and died October 21 from injuries sustained in the accident. Picagli was wearing a black rain coat and a reflective vest when the accident happened, the Associated Press reported. Visibility was poor where the accident happened, the New Haven Register said. Walker was not tested for drugs or alcohol at the scene. Today, state’s attorney Michael Dearington sent his report on Officer Picagli’s death to police chief Francisco Ortiz. He had no idea what the outcome would be, he said: “It will be one of two things — to seek an arrest, or not seek an arrest.” At 4:30 he told us the police had decided not to press charges. —Robert Davey
CORRECTION, March 27: Dearington’s report to police chief Ortiz did not detail potential criminal charges, as this item initially reported.