In a move that is sure to bring vocal resistance from conspiracy thinkers, Connecticut is seeking to block certain vital records from public access, in regards to the Sandy Hook Elementary Massacre. The Hartford Courant Reported last week:
The staffs of the state’s top prosecutor and the governor’s office have been working in secret with General Assembly leaders on legislation to withhold records related to the police investigation into the Dec. 14 Newtown elementary school massacre — including victims’ photos, tapes of 911 calls, and possibly more.
The behind-the-scenes legislative effort came to light Tuesday when The Courant obtained a copy of an email by a top assistant to Chief State’s Attorney Kevin Kane, Timothy J. Sugrue. Sugrue, an assistant state’s attorney, discussed options considered so far, including blocking release of statements “made by a minor.”
The bill that’s being crafted has not been handled under routine legislative procedures — it hasn’t gone through the committee process, which includes a public hearing, for example. Sugrue’s email Tuesday indicated that a draft of the bill was being worked on by leaders in both the House and Senate, and might be ready as soon as the end of the day.
The general consensus is that this is being done to protect the families of the victims from more emotional heartache that would come from public scrutiny. What is unclear is whether that is a simple political spin or a serious concern of state lawmakers. A New York Times editorial vocalized obvious injustices in the way this is being handled:
Sensitivity to the families’ concerns does not justify a gross overreach that would curb access to the kinds of police records to which the public has a right. According to The Hartford Courant, which discovered the secret proposal last week, the police and any government agency would be empowered to prevent the public release of photos, digital and audio recordings, death certificates — even 911 emergency calls, which are now routinely available — without the consent of victims’ families.
The measure, written without the knowledge of the state Freedom of Information Commission, would stop the release of essential information that the public and government leaders need to know in considering how to prevent crimes and to understand how law enforcement responded.
The plan is perplexing, since Mr. Malloy and other state officials had earlier complained about the authorities’ slow release of information on Newtown. Mr. Kane, the chief prosecutor, originally wanted the bill to restrict information on far more crimes. Under current practice in the state, according to The Courant, police do not release graphic photos of crime victims, and those that arise in criminal trials are not usually published by the media.
The proposal raises grave concerns about whether parents’ sensitivities could block the release of such things as private journals kept by the Newtown shooter, Adam Lanza. After the Columbine, Colo., school shootings in 1999, local officials fought against the release of the killers’ journals; those journals eventually provided valuable insight into the shooters’ thoughts.
So let me get this straight. According to NYT some of the same people that were complaining about not having access to these records are now mobilizing to suppress them from the public? Seems they had a change of heart. I don’t have to put a spin on that for people to grab hold and run with it.
Newtown, CT has decided to build a new school and is likely going to be asking for large government grants in order to fund that school. As I reported earlier this month the new school will cost $57 million and Newtown is a small town of approximately 28,000 people. That’s a lot of money for such a small town.
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So at risk of playing the hardass again I have to ask the question that many want an answer to. Is it even remotely fair to hide the facts of this case and then ask the government for $57 million? Come on. Newtown is not Egypt. We deserve to know.
I am already of the opinion that Newtown is trying to take advantage of this tragedy to get themselves a new school that is not really needed. And now the state wants to keep the public from the truth of what happened there?
What are we supposed to think?