Brattleboro Police Department
Shielding the Shooters from Accountability
From the moment of the shooting, the Brattleboro Police Department closed ranks around the shooters. John Martin was acting chief of the department at the time of the shooting. From the stanpoint of blind justice, his handling of the shooters was not reassuring. He directed Officers Parker and Holbrook to return to the police station and write their reports. Those instructions were recalled by Parker and Holbrook to State Police investigators as follows:
|... asked us to come back and just take a few, take an hour or so and just relax and jot down some notes and stuff like that of what happened, but basically relax and kind of chill out.|
|... said to go back to the station and just basically chill out for an hour and if I wanted to make some notes during that time I could, and to basically go back and chill out for an hour.|
They filled out their reports in the patrol area of the station "a couple of hours," according to Holbrook, after the shooting. All three officers filled out their reports in that area, at the same time. When asked if they discussed the incident at that time, Officer Davies replied:
|Not in regards to the incident. I mean, we had normal police, you know, tease each other, do those kinds of things that you normally do.|
After leaving the officers to fill out their reports unsupervised, Martin departed for a "three day previously scheduled vacation".
Back and presumably chilled out from his vacation, Martin stated on December 5 that he thought police force policy had been followed by the shooters. That policy, last revised in 1990, remained a mystery for some time, since the department chose not to make it public.
Martin announced 11 days after the shooting that the shooters had been returned to full active duty the previous day. In apparent effort to diffuse the inevitable public outcry that announcement would elicit, Martin chose the same day to release some selected information from the 911 and emergency communications.