Wednesday, July 30, 2014

‘They are trying to keep a lid on this:’ Smoking gun document among items suppressed at FOI hearing on hidden records about a police-involved shooting


CT Freedom of Information case 2013-775

ISAAC AVILUCEA, ANDY THIBAULT, REGISTER CITIZEN V. CT STATE POLICE

Hearing conducted Wednesday, July 30, 2014 in Hartford

Around the time of a police-involved shooting at the Interlaken Inn in Salisbury, a state police source said: “They are trying to keep a lid on this.”

A state police report was available the night of the incident, Nov. 16, 2013.

Information about the case was requested multiple times by The Register Citizen beginning on Nov. 22, 2013.

State police finally produced the report sometime after April 10, 2014.

Connecticut’s FOI law demands prompt production of documents. Generally, prompt means immediately unless the public agency can demonstrate that production of the public records would interfere with the normal course of business.

Following is one of the documents suppressed today by hearing officer Matthew Streeter and coverage of the hearing by news outlets including The Connecticut Network and ABC affiliate WTNH Channel 8.

Other highlights of the hearing include State Police Lt. Paul Vance's denial under oath that he ever claimed to be the decider of what prompt means under the FOI law.

FS13-00716978 Domestic arrest / discharge of a firearm Salisbury 11/16/2013, 2229 hours

On the above date and time, Troop B personnel were dispatched to 74 Interlaken Rd in Salisbury for a report of a domestic between husband and wife. Dispatch advised the husband is an off-duty Sergeant for Newtown P.D. and a firearm was accidentally discharged in the hotel room. Upon arrival, it was determined through the investigation that Johnny Cole (DOB: redacted by Cool Justice) and his wife Ellen Cole (DOB: redacted by Cool Justice) were at the Interlaken Inn on a retreat with several other Newtown Officers and their spouses. A verbal argument ensued after a comment made by Ellen Cole. While in their hotel room, Johnny was packing his belongings to leave for the night and in so placed his loaded service pistol on the bed to be packed. While Johnny was packing, Ellen picked up the pistol and fired one round in the opposite direction of Johnny Cole into the wall leading into the bathroom. The round exited into the bathroom and proceeded into the bathroom ceiling. The floor is separated by concrete flooring and did not penetrate the second floor upon investigating. Subsequent to the investigation Ellen Cole was arrested and charged with Unlawful Discharge of a Firearm, Criminal Mischief third degree and Disorderly Conduct. Interlaken Inn night manager on scene and aware of the incident. Newtown Sgt. David Kullgren of Newtown P.D. was on scene and was present. Capt. Rios of Newtown P.D. was notified of the incident and will handle a department inquiry as well.



  • CT-N Video of CT FOI hearing on case 2013-775



  • WTNH Channel 8 coverage


  • FOI complaint filed in December 2013


  • Many complaints against state police for hiding public records




  • Friday, July 04, 2014

    Fight photos, Foxwoods, 7-2-14, second annual “50 Cent’s Birthday Bash”


    Photos by JOHN SALATTO for The Cool Justice Report
    OK for use w/ credit



    New Haven’s Jimmy Williams mixes it up with Stephon Owusu of the Bronx en route to earning a unanimous decision in a 6-round super welterweight bout.
    -- JOHN SALATTO photo via @cooljustice

    Williams dropped Owusu in the second round and staggered him in the third, staying undefeated while recording his seventh win.
    -- JOHN SALATTO photo via @cooljustice

    Shelly Vincent of New London talks with reporters after winning a split decision over Nydia Feliciano of the Bronx in a 6-round super bantamweight slugfest. Vincent improved her record to 12 wins without a loss.
    -- JOHN SALATTO photo via @cooljustice

    Dancers who were part of Vincent’s grand entrance leave the ring.
    -- JOHN SALATTO photo via @cooljustice

    Promoter 50 Cent, aka Curtis James Jackson III, exits the ring after congratulating Australia’s Billy Dib. Dib won a 10-round decision over Alberto Garza of Mexico in a super featherweight bout.
    -- JOHN SALATTO photo via @cooljustice

    Corner man checks out Dib, who suffered a head butt in the first round. Dib, a former featherweight champion, improved his record to 37 wins against three losses.
    -- JOHN SALATTO photo via @cooljustice



  • Complete results via The Sweet Science


  • Video: Vincent v. Feliciano


  • Ring Magazine features Shelly Vincent


  • Thursday, June 26, 2014

    Post Watergate Motto: 'We Eat Lawyers' Bones For Breakfast'


    Cool Justice Editor's Note:
    Watch in The Coming Months for 'More Cool Justice'
    - A Sequel to
  • 'Law & Justice in Everyday Life'


  • Dear Reader,

    This will be the last regular installment of Cool Justice for 21st Century Media in Connecticut. I have the pleasure of digging into a couple special assignments and expect to have some work in print with our group over the next few months.

    As Cool Justice concludes this chapter, I thought it would be fun to share a few remembrances ...

  • Complete column at New Haven Register


  • Also at:

  • Middletown Press


  • Register Citizen




  • Connecticut Council on Freedom of Information announces open government award recipients

  • Thursday, June 19, 2014

    Connecticut Council on Freedom of Information announces open government award recipients



  • Connecticut Newsroom post by Matt DeRienzo



  • Fire and brimstone from CCFOI President Jim Smith
    -- Bob Thiesfield photo


    HARTFORD -- A police chief, a state senator, an FOI Commission employee and two journalists have won the annual open government awards from the nonprofit Connecticut Council on Freedom of Information, which has been advocating for freedom of information for six decades.

    Blogger and Digital First Media columnist Andy Thibault received the Stephen A. Collins Award for his dogged pursuit on virtually every FOI battlefront in the past year ...

  • Complete article at Register Citizen

  • Coverage also at:

  • Hartford Courant Alumni Assocation and Refugee Camp


  • The Laurel


  • Chief Matt Reed at Hartford Club with Mary Connolly, retired editorial page editor of the Danbury News Times. Behind Reed is Claude Albert, retired managing editor of the Hartford Courant.
    -- Bob Thiesfield photo


  • Blast from the past: Police Chief Matt Reed at Register Citizen newsroom cafĂ©


  • Big thanks to CCFOI, sources, readers, editors and colleagues from Cool Justice
    -- Bob Thiesfield photo


  • CCFOI website




  • More Cool Justice: Loitering in Provincetown, I see the light