This story is by Mark Davis, staff writer at the Valley News, where it was first published Friday, April 19, 2013. Hartford — A federal judge has dismissed a Wilder man’s claims that he was subjected to excessive force by Hartford police officers because he was black, saying there was insufficient evidence to support his […]
Anne Galloway, editor of the Vermont news Web site VTDigger.org, requested Hartford police records concerning the arrest. Galloway, who had written before on racial profiling in Vermont, wanted to know more about the incident to see if police may have treated Burwell differently because of his race.
Attorney General Sorrell commented: “This is certainly an unfortunate and regrettable incident. We can be thankful that no one, either Mr. Burwell or the officers, was seriously injured. But this was not criminal conduct by the Hartford Police.”
Questions about the Burwell case abound. The judge’s ruling almost guarantees that they will not be answered.
VTDigger.org’s editor in chief is scheduled to speak on Vermont Public Radio (VPR) at 12:40 p.m. today regarding Windsor Superior Court Judge Katherine Hayes’ Nov. 9 ruling ordering the Hartford Police Department to release some of its police records related to the detainment and pepper-spraying of Wilder resident, Wayne Burwell.
Vermont is in desperate need of a better system of police accountability. In fact, there is no system, just a confused, decentralized muddle that leaves many citizens wondering who’s in charge. The American Civil Liberties Union receives numerous complaints about police misconduct. The discouraging thing is that short of a lawsuit, it’s hard to sort out whether an officer acted inappropriately. The public is left not knowing who’s a good cop and who’s not. Police are left with a black eye that may, or may not, be deserved. Meanwhile, innocent people get hurt.