30. December 2010 16:30
I picked up the Internal Affairs investigation documents from Wallingford that I requested in my FOIA request. Originally, Lt Mikulski had 257 pages for me. I went through the documents and trimmed this stack by 90 pages. Amongst the documents for the case, they had printed an entire opencarry.org forum thread about my case and included it. No thanks. At 50 cents a page, I am happy to pay for helpful documents, but I can follow a link or use Google's cache feature just fine when needed.
My initial reactions to the documents:
- They did interview Seth Tucker who was a completely random witness that had given us his card after witnessing Mark Vanaman's emotional outburst resulting in me being put in handcuffs and taken away. I was sure they wouldn't interview Mr. Tucker, since they expressed zero interest in trying to conduct a real investigation at the scene, and seemed less than thrilled about more facts being introduced to the situation that didn't have obvious police bias in their favor. I do notice that at a glance, their interview with Seth Tucker is short and completely self serving.
- They never interviewed Officer Garcia. I find this very interesting and a bit alarming since Officer Garcia is without a doubt the Officer who had the most contact with me, being the one who handcuffed and detained me. It is also interesting in light of a few comments by other officers who were not even in positions to be sufficient witnesses who make sweeping and erroneous claims that Officer Garcia would (should) have known to be false. One of those facts that stands out is that I was disarmed, immediately placed into handcuffs, told I was being arrested for Breach of Peace for carrying an exposed firearm. Officer Garcia himself said this a number of times and engaged me in debate about this issue. Sgt Colavolpe also said the same thing, but now 'he doesn't remember' whether he said Breach of Peace or Disorderly Conduct. Interesting that they wouldn't interview the one other officer who was in the position to testify to what was said, but instead rely on the statements of officers who by their own admission were behind the pool hall when this contact was initially made. Those officers even claim that my magazines were removed from my magazine holder on my belt 'right away', when they were not, and I requested Officer Garcia remove them about a dozen times, to which I was ordered to 'relax' despite not struggling or resisting in any way and simply making a polite request. But we are supposed to trust the word of these officers who cannot even agree (or remember) basic facts about the arrest?
- It comes through in both Anna and my IA interviews that Lt Martino is baiting us along, and upon reading through his 'synopsis' of the investigation, it is clear why he was baiting us. His conclusions about the claims made against them are both factually wrong and taken off of misinterpretations of statements made in unclear contexts, and just outright silly. He claims I was arrested not for carrying an exposed firearm, despite both Anna and I hearing the officers say this multiple times, but for 'creating a disruption', and that officers had probable cause for this because their dispatch was that a man with an exposed firearm was 'pacing in front of the pool hall'. Besides the fact that I was never pacing in front of the pool hall, which one is illegal in CT? Pacing in front of a pool hall or having an exposed firearm? Hint: Neither.
- It is interesting how Lt. Martino confuses his burdens of proof repeatedly. He states that I was 'clearly wrong' to make my complaint against Mark Vanaman, because the State's Attorney says there was no probable cause. But that his officers were in the right to arrest me for the same crime with even less evidence when the State's Attorney gave the same response to the charges against me. He tries to entrap me in my statement and make it sound like I made a false claim against Mark Vanaman, but the fact is that they told me that if someone knowingly makes a disturbance in a pool hall, that is disorderly. Well, we have eye witness statements from several people that all state that Mark Vanaman created the disturbance and approached me in a loud manner. Even Mark Vanaman himself does not dispute this. And yet, Lt Martino decides to ignore this and state that I created the disturbance with my lawfully carried firearm. Interesting.
I will be posting the documents and commenting on them as I have time. Stay tuned.