Discussing The Long-Delayed Sandy Hook Report On WNPR’s “Where We Live”Posted: November 20, 2013
I had the honor and pleasure of appearing this morning as a guest on WNPR’s “Where We Live,” with host John Dankosky and regular guests Colin McEnroe, Mark Pazniokas and Matt Sturdevant. The topic: The long-delayed release by Danbury State’s Attorney Stephen Sedensky of the Sandy Hook investigation report.
There are two aspects of the discussion that I would like to take a moment to highlight. First, Colin McEnroe asked whether the Governor, even though he does not have direct control over our state prosecutors, has indirect control over them. The answer, I believe, is that he does have indirect control, through his appointment of the members of the Criminal Justice Commission, which appoints state prosecutors, and even through his own “bully pulpit.” But, I don’t think that indirect control allows him to exert meaningful pressure on Stephen Sedensky, the Danbury State’s Attorney, to get the Sandy Hook report completed and released to the public sooner rather than later. (Perhaps I am naive. But I don’t think the chairman of the Criminal Justice Commission, Supreme Court Justice Richard Palmer, or the other members of the commission, are puppets of the governor.)
Second, Mark Pazniokas mentioned the Sandy Hook 911 calls, which are the subject of a Freedom of Information Act case. Mr. Sedensky has refused to release tapes of the calls. There has been much speculation about the contents of those calls, particularly whether they include the sounds of gun shots and victims’ screams and cries.
I don’t know what the 911 calls contain. Significantly, neither does Mr. Sedensky, who testified in the FOIA case that he had not listened to them. If the calls are ultimately released, we should not be surprised if we learn that the speculation about their contents was overblown, at least with respect to many of the calls.
UPDATE: Nov. 20 at 8:33 pm
The Danbury New-Times has just published a major story quoting sources who have listened to about nine of the Sandy Hook 911 calls. The paper reports that, according to the sources, “there are no anguished cries of children” on the tapes. What is heard, however, is someone from Newtown police headquarters telling the first responders to “wait” before entering the school. The paper also reports that the first responders told to wait may have been medical personnel, not police.
The rumor that first responders did not enter the school immediately has been floating around for many months. Assuming the rumor is true, and that it relates to police officers, not medical personnel, I take no position on whether that delay was appropriate or not. I have no expertise on that issue. But the delay in releasing the 911 tapes containing this information is sure to fuel arguments that the police and Danbury State’s Attorney’s office have intentionally sought to keep this information from the public and that they have done so by misleading the public about the contents of the tapes.