Police Lt. Orders Deletion of Thousands of Hours of Dashcam Video Involving Officer Who Killed Two Teenagers While Speeding -- Gets Suspended for One Day as Punishment

Chris | InformationLiberation
Sep. 28, 2010

The Connecticut Post reports:
MILFORD -- A police lieutenant was suspended for one day without pay for inadvertently ordering the destruction of thousands of hours of dashboard video sought by the family of one of the two teens killed when a speeding Milford police cruiser slammed into their car.

Police Chief Keith Mello said Monday afternoon that he suspended Lt. Dan Bothwell, who is in charge of the Records Division, in the incident. The video was the subject of a Freedom of Information request by lawyer Bart Halloran, who said that he hoped to use it to establish a pattern of Milford police officers using excessive speed on routine business.

"I am furious, absolutely outraged at this," Halloran said Monday night. "We will be pursuing every legal remedy available to us for destruction of evidence."


Mello said at the time of the crash that Milford police had between 18 and 20 months of footage from dashboard cameras stored on a server. State law requires municipal police departments retain the most recent 30 days of video. The chief said that Milford police were aware of Halloran's FOI request.


"I disciplined the lieutenant for unintentionally violating an order to retain video files that were being reviewed for possible release under the pending FOI request," Mello said. Bothwell reportedly instructed a Management Information Systems staffer who works in the Parsons Government Center to delete the files. That instruction was in accordance with State Records Retention schedules, but violated Mello's order to retain all existing video files.


"It seems to be one thing after another with the Milford Police Department," Halloran said. "Their apology really helps," he added sarcastically. "It is inconceivable to me that this evidence would have been destroyed if it had been in any way helpful to their case."
Of note is the way the Connecticut Post uncritically reported the police lieutenant "inadvertently" ordered the deletion in the first sentence of their article. How they can know whether or not his intent was direct or not is entirely left out.

Seeing as to the nature of the evidence, and that the police actively knew not to destroy the evidence, to assume it was some innocent mistake and the deletion was "inadvertent" is utterly ridiculous.

The Lieutenant ordered the destruction of evidence which could prove the reckless character of his fellow officer, those are the facts of the case, that they claim it was a mistake is irrelevant and unproven, there is absolutely no reason for it to be believed and uncritically reported as fact.

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