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Law Enforcement

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Cop Involved in Altercation at Hospital Sues to Obtain Bodycam Footage

Posted By on Tue, Apr 23, 2019 at 5:05 PM

A Burlington officer equipped with a body cam - FILE: OLIVER PARINI
  • File: Oliver Parini
  • A Burlington officer equipped with a body cam
The city cop who punched Douglas Kilburn, the 54-year-old Burlington man who later died, wants to review video from the March 11 incident before sitting for an interview with state police investigators.

The Burlington police union sued in state court Monday on behalf of Officer Cory Campbell to force city officials to hand over bodycam footage, surveillance video and other documents related to the altercation outside the University of Vermont Medical Center emergency department.

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Thursday, April 18, 2019

Governor's Staff Emails: Burlington Mayor's Autopsy Request 'Does Not Feel Right'

Posted By on Thu, Apr 18, 2019 at 3:36 PM

Mayor Miro Weinberger - KATIE JICKLING
  • Katie Jickling
  • Mayor Miro Weinberger
Top state officials were alarmed by Burlington Mayor Miro Weinberger's last-minute request that the governor intervene to delay the release of autopsy findings linking a man's death to an altercation with a city cop.

Weinberger's chief of staff, Jordan Redell, texted, called and emailed the governor's office on the morning of April 10, just as Vermont State Police were preparing to announce that the state medical examiner classified Douglas Kilburn's death as a homicide, the emails state.

"She was energetically reaching out trying to have us intervene to pause the release," Jason Gibbs, chief of staff for Gov. Phil Scott, wrote later that day to the heads of the Department of Public Safety and the Vermont State Police.

"That does not feel right to me, at any level," he wrote in another internal email.

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Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Burlington Officials Sought to Change 'Homicide' Finding in Police Case

Posted By on Wed, Apr 17, 2019 at 8:52 PM

Dr. Steven Shapiro, Vermont's chief medical examiner - FILE/MATTHEW THORSEN
  • File/Matthew Thorsen
  • Dr. Steven Shapiro, Vermont's chief medical examiner
Burlington city officials sought to influence how the state's chief medical examiner classified a Burlington man's death after learning that the autopsy would link it to punches thrown by a city cop.

State police announced last week that the medical examiner had deemed Douglas Kilburn's death a homicide. Earlier that morning, Burlington Police Chief Brandon del Pozo had contacted the state's top health official with "concerns" about the quality of the medical examiner's work and suggested that his conclusion might be "amended," emails obtained through Vermont's public records law show.

"I have conferred with the mayor and we are in agreement in requesting clarification of these findings before they are made public," del Pozo wrote to Vermont Health Commissioner Mark Levine.

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Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Man's Death Following Fight With Burlington Cop Ruled Homicide

Posted By on Wed, Apr 10, 2019 at 2:59 PM

Burlington police officer Cory Campbell - BURLINGTON POLICE DEPARTMENT
  • Burlington Police Department
  • Burlington police officer Cory Campbell
Updated at 4:48 p.m.

The March death of a 54-year-old man who'd been in a fistfight with a Burlington cop was a homicide, officials said Wednesday.

Vermont State Police are still investigating the encounter between Douglas Kilburn and Burlington police officer Cory Campbell, but a death certificate released Wednesday lists "skull fractures due to blunt impact" as a contributor to Kilburn's death.

Details about the March 11 altercation are limited to what various police groups have asserted in press releases and a description Burlington Police Chief Brandon del Pozo gave at a Wednesday press conference.

According to state police, Kilburn assaulted Campbell in the parking lot outside of the University of Vermont Medical Center "before the officer was able to gain control of the suspect." Kilburn was treated at UVM Medical Center for injuries and released on March 12.

He was found dead at his New North End apartment two days later.

While the death was classified as a homicide, Vermont Chief Medical Examiner Steven Shapiro was unable to determine how, precisely, Kilburn died. He instead listed multiple "contributing causes" including cardiac disease, diabetes, obesity and the skull fractures.

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Friday, March 29, 2019

Harassing Emails to City Councilor Are Protected Speech, Judge Rules

Posted By on Fri, Mar 29, 2019 at 3:01 PM

Christopher Hayden at Vermont Superior Court in Burlington - GLENN RUSSELL
  • Glenn Russell
  • Christopher Hayden at Vermont Superior Court in Burlington
Updated at 5:42 p.m.

Chittenden Superior Court Judge Kevin Griffin this week threw out a hate crime charge against Christopher Hayden, writing that harassing a public official is protected by the First Amendment.

Griffin dismissed a count of disturbing the peace by phone that stemmed from numerous racist messages Hayden sent to City Councilor Ali Dieng's government email address. 

The state has filed seven charges against Hayden since October, including hate crimes for his targeting of Dieng, Mayor Miro Weinberger and Police Chief Brandon del Pozo.

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Friday, March 1, 2019

Lawsuit Accuses Colchester Police of Racial Profiling

Posted By on Fri, Mar 1, 2019 at 3:56 PM

DANIEL FISHEL
  • Daniel Fishel
A new federal lawsuit accuses the Colchester police of discriminating against a black man during a 2016 traffic stop.

Ralph Moore of Brooklyn, N.Y., spent more than eight months in jail on charges that a Vermont judge eventually ruled stemmed from an unlawful search, according to the complaint filed Tuesday in U.S. District Court.

The suit alleges unlawful search and seizure and a violation of equal protection rights by Officer Victor Bitca, former police chief Jennifer Morrison and the Town of Colchester.

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Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Condos: Cops Shouldn't Charge Vermonters to View Body Camera Footage

Posted By on Tue, Jan 22, 2019 at 1:58 PM

FILE: OLIVER PARINI
  • File: Oliver parini
Updated at 4:56 p.m.

Vermont Secretary of State Jim Condos is siding with a man who sued the Burlington Police Department over the hundreds of dollars it wanted to charge him to view an officer's body camera footage.

The state's primary public records custodian filed an amicus brief with the Vermont Supreme Court last week asserting that public records should be free for members of the public to inspect. A lower court ruling in favor of the police department "serves to cloud the transparencies in Vermont government" well beyond police video, Condos wrote.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Vermont sued the department last year on behalf of Reed Doyle, a Burlington man who claimed to have witnessed a Queen City officer use excessive force against young teens in Roosevelt Park in 2017. Doyle sought a court order requiring the department to allow him to view body camera footage from the incident without charge.

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Monday, January 14, 2019

Madelyn Linsenmeir to Cops in Booking Video: 'I'm Very Ill Right Now'

Posted By on Mon, Jan 14, 2019 at 7:46 PM

Madelyn Linsenmeir, center, on September 29, 2018 - SCREENSHOT
  • Screenshot
  • Madelyn Linsenmeir, center, on September 29, 2018
Video of the booking room at the Springfield, Mass., police department on September 29 captured a distressed Madelyn Linsenmeir asking for water and medical care as officers methodically went through the booking routine and ignored her requests.

Several days later, on October 7, the Vermont woman died at a Massachusetts hospital. She'd battled drug addiction for years.

A poignant obituary for Linsenmeir, written by her sister Kate O'Neill, went viral. O'Neill wrote that the family hoped her sister's story would help others let go of the stigma related to addiction. (After it ran, Seven Days hired O'Neill for a special reporting project on the ongoing opiate crisis.)

Linsenmeir's family members are also looking for answers about their loved one's final days. The family, represented by the American Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts, sued the Springfield PD in November, seeking video and other information related to her arrest.

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White Nationalist Crashes Press Conference on Racial Harassment of Kiah Morris

Posted By on Mon, Jan 14, 2019 at 3:52 PM

Kiah Morris - DEREK BROUWER
  • Derek Brouwer
  • Kiah Morris
Updated 8:14 p.m.

A self-proclaimed white nationalist accused of harassing former state representative Kiah Morris strode into the Congregation Beth El synagogue in Bennington during a press conference held Monday to announce the findings of a state probe into alleged racist acts against the ex-lawmaker.

Morris, a Bennington Democrat who is African American, cited years of racial harassment when she resigned from her position last fall before the end of her term.

The press conference went off the rails when Bennington resident Max Misch entered the room as Morris answered a television reporter's question about the AG's probe. Misch had been subject to a yearlong protective order in 2016 prohibiting him from contacting Morris over a series of racist tweets, messages and online comments he aimed at her.

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Friday, January 11, 2019

More Police Officers Report 'Career-Altering' Training Injuries

Posted By on Fri, Jan 11, 2019 at 2:26 PM

DREAMSTIME
  • Dreamstime
Three additional law enforcement officers have come forward reporting serious injuries sustained during training drills at the Vermont Police Academy, according to attorney Jerry O’Neill, who is representing a Burlington officer in a lawsuit against the academy.

VTDigger.org reported Monday that an investigation by the Burlington Police Department found that Officer Erin Bartle and two others sustained injuries such as concussions and hearing loss during an academy drill known as the “hitchhiker scenario.” A fourth officer was knocked unconscious. During the drill, instructors punched recruits in the head without warning. Bartle is suing the Vermont Criminal Justice Training Council, which oversees the academy.

Since news of the lawsuit broke, O’Neill said, at least three more law enforcement officials have come forward. Washington County Sheriff's Deputy Mark Poulin, 44, is one of them.

Poulin gave Seven Days the following account of what happened to him: He has a history of concussions and traumatic brain injuries, so he warned instructors before a training at the Washington County Sheriff's Office that a hit to the head could end his career. The instructors were certified by the Vermont Police Academy as use-of-force trainers.

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