Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Ken Krayeske Arrest: The Police Report and Provable Reality are at Odds

Much of the online coverage of the arrest of Ken Krayeske has, rightfully, focused on the existence of a "Threat List" kept by law enforcement officials (see here, here, and here).

I want to take a moment to talk for a second about a tangential issue: the arrest itself. According to the police report:

At approximately 13:20 I was in an unmarked Police vehicle at the corner of Ford Street and Pear Street when I observed the accused suddenly ride a mountain bike at a high rate of speed directly up to the parade route, dump the bicycle, jumping off it, and then running up to the parade procession directly in front of where the Governor was passing by in the procession.
As I exited my vehicle and ran towards the accused I observed State Police Detective Pedro Rosado approach the accused just as the accused was stepping off the curb into the parade route, toward the Governor. Detective Rosado had placed himself between the accused and the Governor's path, I then grabbed the accused by his right arm and escorted him away from the Governor, and the parade route, which he resisted by attempting to pull away from me.

When I spoke with Nancy Mulroy, spokesperson for the Hartford Police, she indicated that the arrest was made as a reaction to "aggressive behavior." And the behavior, according to the police report, certainly sounds aggressive.

But the police report omits a glaring object: the camera in the hands of the accused. We know for a fact that a camera was present, because the photographs that Ken Krayeske took that day have been published on his website:

In fact, according to his website (which, given the potential for litigation, I am taking for accurate as he will have to produce the time stamped photographs in court), he had time to take 23 photographs at that location before he was arrested. This does not line up with the timeline provided in the police report.

It does, however, fit perfectly with a witness statement in the Courant that directly contradicts the police report:

But one witness to the arrest, Eliot Streim, contradicted the police account.

Streim, a Hartford lawyer who was watching the parade with a colleague, said police did not intercept Krayeske as he ran into the parade route. On the contrary, Krayeske photographed the governor without incident and was detained by police only after Rell had passed by, Streim said.

When I asked Nancy Mulroy where the camera was when the arrest was made she indicated, based on the listing of "Nylon bag... containing photographic equipment" in the property section of the police report, that the camera was in the nylon bag. Again, the photographic evidence makes this difficult to believe, and it is equally hard to believe that Ken Krayeske's behavior could be perceived as "aggressive" if he had a camera up to his eye.

Finally, Ms. Mulroy conveyed to me that the arrest, setting of bail, resetting of bail, and release timeline was not based on the end of the inaugural ball, but on the logistics of arrests in Hartford. The Hartford Police Department has holding cells, but not a jail, so the original bail was set ($75,000) at the police department by a Marshall and the delay was caused by the wait for a regularly scheduled shuttle to the jail. The bail was changed to a promise to appear at the jail and the further delay was caused by the wait for another regularly scheduled shuttle back to the Hartford Police Department for processing for release.

Assuming this is accurate, and I have no reason to believe that it is not, its fine as far as it goes, but it is not an adequate justification for the extremely high original bail. Ms. Mulroy indicated that the original bail was set with an eye toward Mr. Krayeske's previous criminal record. But his criminal record contains only three arrests for non-violent civil disobedience - hardly the stuff that makes for high bail.

Taking all this together, and in the prism of the existence of a "Threat List," the question that emerges is Was Ken Krayeske arrested because of his actions or for some other reason? More information than the police report will be necessary to adequately answer the question and it is encouraging that Governor Rell and Judiciary Chairman Mike Lawlor are interested in investigating further.

Update: I should add that, given the police department's knowledge of its own procedure and of how long Mr. Krayeske would be in custody if he made the trip to the jail, the high setting of the bail could have been undertaken with the knowledge that it would ensure him remaining in jail until midnight or one in the morning.

I am not arguing that this was some nefarious plot; I am just arguing that the simple fact that the regular procedure caused him to remain in jail for so long doesn't let HPD off the hook - they could have been using the procedure as a tool.

MARK PAZNIOKAS, "State Called Man `Threat'", Hartford Courant, January 6, 2007.
Ken Krayeske Arrest Report, Hartford Courant, January 6, 2007.


Matt said...

All well and good. I want to know who is going to lose their job for this. Rell might be a lot sweeter than Bush or Guiliani, but the proof is in the disciplinary action when it comes to substantial difference.

Maura said...

Great work, Gabe. This puts the report in context very well.

Anonymous said...


Go read Stan Simpson's column in the Hartford courant to realize WHY the state police did what they did. Better to err on the side of security than not.

Anonymous said...

Simpson, one of the most boring columnists in the state (when was the last memorable column he ever wrote?), largely misses the point, though he acknowledges at least one fundamental issue:

No, Krayeske should not have been arrested, and yes, the charges should be dropped.

Um, so why was he arrested, and why have the charges not been dropped? Oh, there's no space to talk about that, just don't criticize the cops.

Oh yeah, and there's the issue of the political punishment of $75,000 bail, the imprisonment simply to keep him away from the inaugural ball, the fact that another bystander walked into the street to shake the Governor's hand without security blinking an eye, the targeting of the staff of Rell's political opponent, the trawling of blogs for political opponents, the use of state funds to target peaceful dissidents, the diversion from actual security concerns... But who cares about that?

But please don't suggest that the guy should not have been detained for a while, at least until the point police were assured he had no bad intentions.

When a guy stands for a long time taking photographs, then goes back to the sidewalk, he's, um, usually taking photographs. Not hard to figure out, Stan. The cops didn't detain him beforehand, but afterwards. But let's arrest and jail all photographers, journalists, columnists and activists as a preliminary step, just so we'll all feel safer.

But hey, Stan gets paid no matter what crap he writes, so who cares if it makes any sense?

Then again, this was the guy who suggested that Lieberman should run for Governor.

ctkeith said...

Using Stans Simpsons logic the police should have locked up Martin Luther King instead of allowing him to give his "I Have A Dream Speech".

Un-effing believeable.