Wall of Silence
A wall of silence went up as soon as Woody was shot. In the days after the shooting, it was evident in the State Police December 3 disclosure and the fact that information about the shooting that authorities had promised to make public, such as the police force policy, the autopsy results, and the ballistics tests results, remained behind a protective wall of silence.
The considerable public outcry that the shooters not be returned to active duty was ignored by authorities. John Martin announced their return a day after the fact, long before the completion of any investigation; and refused to describe the nature of the alleged review process used to determine their fitness for duty,
But even tight-lipped Martin was apparently too loose with the public information in police custody for the State Police officials overseeing the case, when he threw the public some tidbits of information from the 911 call. Within a day, a gag order came down from on high, and the public would hear nothing about the killing, other than what some eyewitnesses were willing to say, until the conclusion of Sorrell's 'investigation'.
Later we learned that, in the midst of their grief in the immediate aftermath of the killing, and at a time before they had retained legal counsel, Woody's family was strongly discouraged by state officials from viewing the body, and consented to taking possession of the remains under the condition that it be cremated first. Thus the officials accomplished an important goal -- the body was destroyed before an independent autopsy could be performed.
In the early days after the killing, there were other signs of the wall, such as the press release of the Brattleboro Police Department, which was purged of any reference to a single word Woody spoke on the day they killed him. But it was not until we analyzed the eyewitness evidence, collected by the State Police, and the Attorney General's report, that we discovered the full breadth and depth of the wall of silence.