Police Political Damage Control
HARTFORD POLICE CHIEF DARYL ROBERTS, right, and state Capitol Police Chief Michael Fallon face the legislature’s public safety and security committee at a hearing Tuesday on the arrest of political activist Ken Krayeske on Jan. 3. Krayeske was arrested as he approached Gov. M. Jodi Rell to take a photograph during the inaugural parade. Roberts testified that Krayeske “breached the parade route.”
Jan. 23, 2007
Copyright 2007, The Hartford Courant
Chief Explains Krayeske Arrest
City Police Take Full Responsibility
January 24, 2007
By MARK PAZNIOKAS, Courant Staff Writer
Hartford police took full responsibility Tuesday for the arrest of political activist Ken Krayeske at Gov. M. Jodi Rell's inaugural parade, telling legislators that they were not influenced by a state police flier describing Krayeske as someone who might be disruptive.
Hartford Police Chief Daryl K. Roberts testified at a legislative hearing that Krayeske was arrested because he "breached the parade route," a claim disputed by Krayeske and witnesses, not because of a threat assessment by state police.
"He was not arrested based on the picture," Roberts said, referring to a two-page state police flier with Krayeske's photo that was distributed to Hartford and state police on the inaugural parade security detail.
Krayeske, 34, who also works as a free-lance photographer and writer, was arrested Jan. 3 after photographing the governor as she marched from the Hartford Civic Center to the Legislative Office Building for her early afternoon inaugural ceremony.
Police initially described Krayeske as aggressively approaching the governor when arrested, but a Courant reporter accompanying Rell saw no such approach. And a witness said Krayeske was arrested after Rell had passed by him without incident as he shot photos from the curb.
Roberts said Tuesday that it is up to the courts to decide what happened.
Sitting next to Roberts before the legislature's public safety committee, state Public Safety Commissioner Leonard Boyle said state police played no role in the decision to arrest and detain Krayeske for 12 hours on misdemeanor charges of breach of peace and interfering with police.
Krayeske, who had suggested on a political website that demonstrators protest outside Rell's inaugural ball the evening of Jan. 3, was not released from custody until about 1 a.m. on Jan. 4, long after the ball had ended.
But Roberts said no one asked Hartford police to keep Krayeske in custody until after the ball. He said Hartford police decided on their own to set bail of $75,000 for Krayeske, which kept him locked up until a state bail commissioner ordered him released without bail.
Roberts said his officers set a high bail because Krayeske was "evasive" and "uncooperative" after his arrest. Krayeske, an anti-war demonstrator who once taught protesters how to behave if arrested, had asked for a lawyer and refused to answer questions.
Legislators invited Boyle, Roberts and other law-enforcement officials to appear before the public safety committee and explain how Krayeske, who managed the gubernatorial campaign of Green Party candidate Cliff Thornton last year, came to be classified a security risk.
Boyle said state police did not consider Krayeske a possible threat until he posted this note on a website: "Whose going to protest the inaugural ball Jan. 3 with me? No need to make nice after watching this documentary."
The documentary referred to an examination of the troubled state juvenile training center.
Boyle said the Web posting prompted his officers to check Krayeske's record, finding that he once had been arrested and fined $50 for protesting at the launching of a nuclear submarine in Groton. On that basis, Krayeske's photo was shown to the parade security detail.
Rep. Jim Shapiro, D-Stamford, read Boyle a state law prohibiting intelligence gathering for political reasons and questioned the propriety of circulating a flier about Krayeske.
"I think a mistake was made here," Shapiro said. "It may have been an honest one, but I think a mistake was made."
But two Republican committee members, Reps. Ruth Fahrbach of Windsor and Leonard C. Greene of Beacon Falls, expressed regret that some legislators were questioning Krayeske's arrest.
Greene said if the arrest had occurred shortly after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, legislators would be "patting you on the back."
Contact Mark Pazniokas at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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