Christine Stuart photo
The state dropped the charges against Ken Krayeske, the reporter and political activist who was arrested in January while taking pictures during Gov. M. Jodi Rell’s inaugural parade.

The state prosecutor Roseanne Wagner said the state reviewed the police report and interviewed witnesses and the Hartford Police, whose offcers made the arrest, before making their decision to ask the court to nolle the case Wednesday.

She said that the police have been highly criticized for the arrest, but “they did what they had to do.”

“We believe the police did the right thing,” Wagner said before entering the nolle.

Then Krayeske’s attorney, Norman Pattis, moved to have the case dismissed and Superior Court Judge David Gold agreed to the motion. Pattis said he wished he could attribute the dismissal to his good lawyering, but “frankly it had everything to do with the weakness of the state’s case.”

“The state did the right thing today,” Pattis said.

Krayeske, who was sporting a “Free Speech” tie embroidered by his sister, Ruby, said, “I’m just happy the charges were dropped” and “I can get back to concentrating on law school.” Krayeske said he has about 200 pages of assigned reading to finish by the end of the day. 

What have we learned from the arrest?

Krayeske said he hoped the state and the police learned how to discern the difference between political dissidence and danger. He said he will keep publishing his Web site The 40 Year Plan and he will keep reporting on things he cares about. He said today is a victory for the First Amendment and freedom of the press, but it also acts as an example of how quickly those rights can be taken away.

State Rep. Michael Lawlor, D-East Haven, released a statement shortly after the judge’s decision saying, “It is also clear to me that Krayeske was singled out irresponsibly by state and local police because of his political views and prior political statements and activity.

“The bad news is that state and local taxpayers will bear the cost of this violation of Ken Krayeske’s constitutional right,” Lawlor continued. “The good news is that the governor, the legislature, and law enforcement agencies can and will make sure this never happens again.”

Cliff Thornton, the Green Party’s candidate for governor who was there to support Krayeske in court Wednesday, said that after Krayeske confronted Rell in Glastonbury last fall, Rell’s security detail warned Thornton to keep Krayeske away from the governor. But Thornton said Krayeske, who was his campaign manager at the time, never became a physical threat to the governor. He said he was just verbally arguing to get Thornton into the televised debates.

“It’s called in-your-face politics,” Thornton said.

As for Krayeske’s mom, she said she’s much relieved. “Until I heard them say it in the courtroom I didn’t believe it.” Krayeske’s father said he had the shaving cream and the razor in the car. He said Pattis, who sports a pony tail, promised that if he failed to get Ken a dismissal he would shave off his ponytail. See Pattis’ comment below for details on the exact hairdo bet.