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
The legislation O’Brien, Urban, and others introduced creates a bipartisan committee that would look at the intelligence gathered on individuals to make sure their civil rights aren’t being violated. There will be a public hearing on this bill Friday.
State Rep. Michael Lawlor, D-East Haven, introduced legislation that spells out what intelligence law enforcement agencies may and may not collect. The bill 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. Click here for the first report and the 41 comments from readers that followed.
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.
Lawlor said Friday that the Hartford Police Department better have the information the legislature requested. “They’re not allowed to destroy it,” he said. He said the public may not have access to the records but the information needs to be retained by police. Lawlor said he took offense to the dismissive nature of Roberts response.
In his Jan. 31 response Roberts wrote that bond amounts are set on a case-by-case basis. “To reinforce this point a review was conducted of bonds set for similar arrests over the past several months and the bond amounts vary depending upon the circumstance of the case,” he wrote.
Roberts went on to say 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.
And if you thought Krayeske was the lone photographer to be threatened by law enforcement, click here to read the latest from the New Haven Advocate photographer threatened with arrest for taking photos at a St. Patty’s Day event.