Friday, March 16, 2007

Where's The Threat?

Could It Be To The Constitution?

Legislature Looks At Police Planning For Inaugural Event;
Bogus Arrest Of Photographer Results In Two New Bills

Hartford PD Stiffs General Assembly
And Links Right To Remain Silent To High Bond

by Christine Stuart

Two legislative committees have introduced bills that would give the legislature supervision over law enforcement intelligence, including lists like the one Ken Krayeske ended up on before he was arrested for taking photos during Gov. M. Jodi Rell’s inaugural parade.

The public outcry expressed after Krayeske’s arrest in January was enormous. State Rep. Diana Urban, D-North Stonington, said that fact two committee’s have introduced bills is a testimony to “how important we think this issue is.”

State Rep. Timothy O’Brien, D-New Britain, who introduced HB 7390 also says when a law enforcement agency briefs its officers concerning the safety and security of public officials at events, such as the inaugural parade, it needs to include an explanation of constitutional rights citizens have at public events.

Lawlor said a distinction needs to be made between who is considered a physical threat and who may cause a disturbance. He said in Krayeske’s case the distinction was never made. He said those who attended the parade briefing said Krayeske was described as the biggest threat to the governor that day when he was never a physical threat to begin with.

Krayeske was arrested by the Hartford Police Department while he was photographing the governor along the parade route. Is there any opposition to these bills?

Lawlor said there’s a lot in these proposals to consider and “I do think law enforcement will have a lot of questions and suggestions.”

As far as the Hartford Police are concerned Lawlor was upset they still had not complied with the Office of Legislative Research’s request for information regarding the bond amount set on misdemeanor arrests in December and January. Lawlor said the Hartford Police Chief Daryl Roberts has shown “complete disregard for the authority of the General Assembly.”

Hartford Police Spokeswoman Nancy Mulroy said the police can’t provide the information because they don’t have the information. She said the arrest report is purged from the database every morning at 10 a.m. when the accused are taken to be arraigned in court. She said if we kept the information we would be violating their rights. She said she suggested OLR try to get the information from the Bail Commission.

In a response to OLR’s request in a letter dated Jan. 31, Roberts said Krayeske’s “bond amount was set higher than normal at the direction of a Hartford Police Department Commander due to the circumstances.” He went on to write that “Mr. Krayeske’s behavior during the incident and subsequent uncooperative behavior in discussing his intentions further reinforced the necessity for a higher than normal bond.”

State Rep. Christopher Caruso said it seemed to him that Roberts didn’t even read his own arresting officer’s reports before making his remarks to the legislature’s Public Safety Committee last month. Lawlor said Krayeske did not commit any crime according to the arresting officers own report.

The state has yet to drop the charges against Krayeske, whose next court date is March 21.

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