Christine Stuart photo
Democratic legislative leaders expressed concern Monday with the details surrounding the arrest of journalist and political activist Ken Krayeske. “When did Connecticut become a police state?” one of them asked. Gov. M. Jodi Rell echoed some of their concerns in a letter she wrote to Public Safety Commissioner Leonard Boyle. In her letter, Rell called for a complete review of Krayeske’s arrest. Lawmakers went one step further by asking the police to hand over its dossier of Rell’s political enemies. Click here to read CTNewsjunkie’s coverage of Krayeske’s arraignment Friday morning on breach of peace and interfering with an officer charges. Krayeske was working as a journalist photographing Rell’s inaugural parade when he was arrested Wednesday.State Rep. Michael Lawlor, D-East Haven, (pictured above) said based on the police report, Krayeske was “acting well within his constitutional rights.” “There’s nothing in this report that leads me to believe he broke the law,” he said. Especially disturbing to lawmakers was the existence of a dossier compiled by the Connecticut Intelligence Center and State Police Intelligence Unit to help local law enforcement identify “possible threats to Gov. Rell by political activists.”
State Rep. Christopher Caruso, D-Bridgeport, said “political activism is not a crime.” If it is then, Caruso, Lawlor, and state Rep. Denise Merrill, D-Mansfield, who have all been arrested for civil disobedience, said there names should be on the list too. Krayeske, who most recently worked on the Green Party candidate Cliff Thorton’s campaign for governor, was arrested in 2003 for civil disobedience while protesting the war. He was also aggressive in repeatedly asking Rell to include Thornton in the televised debates. In an effort to get his candidate’s voice heard, he often approached Rell at public events like parades or press conferences. Legislators said they don’t know which committee will be holding hearings on this matter, but they intend to get a hold of the police dossier and when they do, they will release it to the public. “How do you get on this list? What are the standards?” Merrill asked. In her letter to Boyle, Rell demanded answers to lawmakers questions. “I would like to know how this individual came to the attention of the State Police and the circumstance under which his name and photo were provided to the Hartford Police Department.“But while lawmakers believe political activism isn’t a crime, Lawlor pointed out that Krayeske wasn’t even at the parade as a political activist, he was there as a journalist. On Krayeske’s Web site www.the40yearplan.com he explains he was going to the parade to get some updated file photos of the governor. According to the police report there doesn’t seem to be enough probable cause for police to have charged Krayeske with breach of peace, Lawlor said. He said the interfering with an officer charge was added when Krayeske pulled the arm his arm away from the plainclothes officer who grabbed it to escort him away from the parade route. Lawlor said he spoke with judicial branch officials Monday and believes two comments Krayeske made on Internet sites may have helped land him on the police intelligence briefing. One comment was made on Connecticut Local Politics on Dec. 14 when Krayeske asked bloggers, “Whose going to protest the inaugural ball Jan. 3 with me? No need to make nice after watching this documentary about CJTS: http://www.youthrightsmedia.org/cost.html Lawlor said the second comment that may have gotten him in trouble was the posting on his own Web site the morning of Jan. 3. That morning before pedaling downtown on his mountain bike Krayeske had poked fun at the restrictions made on the media. “I scoped the area because I hoped to snap some photos of Rell during the inaug. I want file shots so when I report on her governance, I can have fresh images for the loyal viewing audience. Unfortunately, according to Mr. Harris, I won’t have much access,” Krayeske wrote referring to the one of governor’s spokesmen. Krayeske, according to the police report, was observed riding his mountain bike at a high rate of speed up to the intersection, dumping the bike, and running up to the parade procession right where the governor was passing. It’s unclear from the police report if Krayeske was apprehended before or after the governor passed. The Hartford Courant reported that one eyewitness saw Krayeske taken into custody after Rell had passed. Lawlor, said there’s nothing in Krayeske’s history that indicates he’s a “threat to anyone,” which makes the initial $75,000 bond unusual. He said the bail commissioner lowered it to a promise to appear and Krayeske was let go at 1 a.m. Thursday about 13 hours after he was arrested. According to Lawlor the bail commissioner lowered Krayeske’s bail around 8 p.m that evening, but Krayeske had already been taken to state lock-up on Lafayette Street. It took them almost five hours to get him back to the Hartford Police Department where he could be released. Lawlor said in order to find out if Krayeske’s bond was set unusually high he asked the Hartford Police Department to compile a list of similiar misdemeanor charges later lowered to a promise to appear. Lawlor suspects there won’t be another $75,000 bond listed for any of them.