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JusticeForWoody.net site last revised 1/17/06
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Killing Reaction Cases Evidence Analysis Media Woody

Attorney General Sorrell's 'Woodward Shooting Report'

On an April 2nd press conference William Sorrell released his 'Woodward Shooting Report'. It is available here in the following forms.

This report consumed 4 months and untold hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars to arrive at the same conclusion the State Police had arrived at on December 3rd.

The report is the subject of an extensive analysis here.

What are critics saying about the Woodward Shooting Report? Here is a sampling.

How anybody could overlook the fact that the police were investigating themselves is beyond me.
-Tova Gabrielle
The Woodward Shooting Report is, in a word, brilliant. It takes a clear case of unjustified use of force, and, through the careful selection and presentation of evidence, including using detective paraphrases from witness interviews as if witness quotes, creates a picture of events quite different from what actually occurred. It replaces Woody's fear with anger, and creates the mis-impression that all of the church-members were terrified of him. It presents to the reader the version of events recalled by the officers as if fact, but is much more conservative in the claims in its findings -- a discrepancy that will escape the casual reader. It carefully negotiates two competing demands: the public relations demand of promoting a narrative of the shooting that avoids exposing the police to criminal liability; and the legal demand of avoiding making statements are demonstrably false.
-Jim Hoffman

The eyewitness statements form a consistent account of events which are contradicted only by police claims. What few eyewitness statements differ from the consensus account are carefully culled by Attorney General Sorrell [for his report] from interviews of witnesses whose accounts otherwise match the consensus view of events.

Close inspection reveals Sorrell's report to be a carefully constructed facade resting on the foundation of the officers' accounts, buttressed by those carefully culled statements. Through a brilliantly crafted deception, The Attorney General of Vermont makes a mockery of his responsibility to seek the truth in this matter. By misdirecting public resources in an attempt to short-circuit the justice system, Sorrell attempts to shield himself and the officers from accountability.

-Justice for Woody Report

The official report of the Attorney General of the State of Vermont, William H. Sorrell, on the shooting of Robert Woodward by two Brattleboro police officers on December 2 All Souls Church was biased, incompetent, and dishonest. It treats the accounts given by interested parties, the police, as inherently more reliable than the accounts given by disinterested parties, the members of the congregation who were present; it misreads, misrepresents, and manipulates the evidence; it reaches a conclusion that cannot be supported by the evidence he claims to have examined; and it fails to reach the conclusion that is best supported by the evidence: at the very least, this case should have gone before a Grand Jury.

-Professor T. Wilson

page last modified: 2008-07-20