A Legal Analysis of the Awesome Appeal by Randazza Legal Group to the CT Superior Court to get the Yale Campus Police Body Camera Footage from the Living or Napping While Black Hate Crime Hoax at Yale

This is a legal analysis of the terrific appeal of the CT FOI Commission’s travesty of justice decision denying the public access to the Yale Campus Police body camera footage from the Living or Napping While Black Hate Crime Hoax at Yale. It’s awesome. My attorneys, Jay Wolman and Marc Randazza of the Randazza Legal Group, did a fantastic job.

Here it is:

https://app.luminpdf.com/viewer/5f96a9a67a9cb600113cbdbc

TWO MAIN TAKE AWAYS:

  1. The Yale Campus Police doesn’t get to make arbitrary and capricious decisions about who does and does not get to have access to Yale Campus Police body camera footage. This is a gross violation of Equal Protection.

2. The Yale Campus Police doesn’t get to say magic words and wave a wand and pronounce that someone called them to report a crime when they clearly did no such thing. This means that the Yale Campus Police Department can always deny the public access to police body camera footage that they should rightly have, to shield themselves from accountability.

Below are the facts established in the appeal by my attorneys, Randazza Legal Group:

  1. First, the brief does a good job of establishing the fact that I’m a lifelong and well-documented human and civil rights activist and licensed attorney.

2. The brief does an excellent job of establishing the fact that I was subjected to a campaign of harassment in my isolated Yale dorm room on the 12th floor of the tower of the Hall of Graduate Studies, following the February 24th, 2018 incident, during which I did absolutely nothing wrong, a fact which was established by the Yale Housing Managers.

3. The brief does an excellent job of establishing the fact that the Yale Administration and Yale Campus Police, including Chief Ronnell Higgins, were fully aware that I was being subjected to a campaign of harassment in my isolated Yale dorm room, following the February 24th, 2018 incident, and that the Resident Coordinators of the Hall of Graduate Studies were involved in the harassment.

4. The brief does an excellent job of establishing the fact that the Yale Administration and Yale Campus Police, including Chief Ronnell Higgins, repeatedly told, not only myself, but also the entire Yale community, that they should feel absolutely free to call the Yale Campus Police at any time, for any reason, even if we were unsure that their assistance was necessary. I was explicitly told by Yale Campus Police Officer Grace Schenkle on March 9th, 2018, that the Yale Campus Police ALWAYS prefers to check out any situation, just to make sure that everything is ok.

5. The brief does an excellent job of making clear that I never knew the identities of my harassers, that the Yale Administration and Yale Campus Police knew that I did not know the identities of my harassers, and that I had never seen Lolade Siyonbola before May 8th, 2018, and did not know her name or if she was even a Yale affiliate or Hall of Graduate Studies resident.

6. The brief does an excellent job of making clear that both Jean Louis Reneson and Lolade Siyonbola were in violation of Yale housing regulations on February 24th, 2018, and May 8th, 2018, respectively.

7. The brief does an excellent job of making clear that I did not call the non-emergency helpline of the Yale Campus Police, as instructed, on May 8th, 2018, until Lolade Siyonbola made statements to me that made it clear to me that she was very likely one of the persons who had been harassing me all evening and even for months.

8. The brief does an excellent job of making clear that I never accused Siyonbola of trespassing or any other criminal activity. In point of fact, I let the Yale Campus Police Officer who responded to my call know that, even if the person whom I accidentally encountered camped out in the 12th floor common was a Yale graduate student and resident of the Hall of Graduate Studies, it is a violation of Yale Housing Regulations for them to be using the 12th floor common room as a sleeping accommodation, and that they needed to return to their dorm room.

9. The brief does an excellent job of making clear that I was simply calling the non-emergency helpline of the Yale Campus Police, exactly as I had been repeatedly instructed to do by the Yale Administration and Yale Campus Police, including Chief Ronnell Higgins, for assistance, to prevent future harassment. And, the harassment was not being reported as criminal activity.

10. The brief does an excellent job of making clear that I pleaded with the Yale Campus Police Officers to listen to me, that I pleaded with them to please speak with Yale Graduate School Dean Lynn Cooley, who was fully aware that I had been enduring a campaign of harassment in my isolated Yale dorm room, and that I pleased with them to please read Yale Campus Police Officer Grace Schenkle’s police reports detailing the campaign of harassment that I had been enduring.

11. The brief does an excellent job of making clear that I had no idea that I was being filmed by Lolade Siyonbola. I was shocked to discover that the recording of me was being propagated around the world to vilify and destroy me.

12. The brief does an excellent job of making clear that I have never had an opportunity to tell the truth about the Living or Napping While Black Hate Crime Hoax at Yale, and that I continue to be defamed as a genocidal villain who lynches Black students at Yale via the Yale Campus Police to this day, since May 8th, 2018.

13. Yale is claiming the exemption that the Yale Campus Police body camera footage contains uncorroborated criminal allegations.

14. I appealed to the CT FOI Commission, which pronounced a final decision on September 9th, 2020, denying the public access to the Yale Campus Police Body Camera Footage from the Living or Napping While Black Hate Crime Hoax at Yale on May 8th, 2018.

Below is my analysis of the legal analysis from the appeal by my attorneys, Randazza Legal Group:

  1. The brief makes clear that the CT FOI Commission erred in concluding that the Yale Campus Police dispatched officers to the Hall of Graduate Studies on May 8th, 2018, to conduct a criminal investigation into the alleged criminal activities of trespassing and harassment.

a. The CT FOI Commission made this determination based solely on the testimony of Yale Campus Police Chief Ronnell Higgins who was not present on May 8th, 2018, and who had nothing to do with the events of May 8th, 2018, and who perjured himself before the CT FOI Commission.

b. I offered my own testimony before the CT FOI Commission as to the non-criminal nature of my call to the non-emergency helpline of the Yale Campus Police on May 8th, 2018. I called them to help me in their capacity as peace officers.

c. The Yale Campus Police body camera footage from May 8th, 2018 will make this point clear, because the Yale Campus Police Officers threaten me on the footage, precisely because they said that I had called them improperly for a NON-CRIMINAL matter.

The Yale Campus Police officers on the Yale Campus Police body camera footage from the Living or Napping While Black Hate Crime Hoax at Yale on May 8th, 2018, tell me that they are going to report me to Yale Graduate School Dean Lynn Cooley for racial harassment, because I called them improperly for a NON-CRIMINAL matter.

(I thought this was a really excellent point in the brief.)

2. The CT FOI Commission erred in concluding that the Yale Campus Police determined that my allegations on May 8th, 2018 were unfounded.

a. They made no such determination as to whether harassment had occurred, either criminal or non-criminal harassment. As stated in the brief, I was pressed by the Yale Campus Police Supervisor to speculate as to whether or not the harassment I had been enduring was criminal in nature when he threatened to report me to Yale Graduate School Dean Lynn Cooley for racial harassment for having called the non-emergency helpline of the Yale Campus Police for a non-criminal matter.

3. The CT FOI Commission erred in concluding that the Yale Campus Police body camera footage was not otherwise available to the public, and was recorded during an investigation of a crime or alleged crime. The Yale Campus Police themselves made clear that I had called them improperly for a non-criminal matter at the time of the investigation, and the body camera footage had already been made available to legally distinct members of the public, including Yale Administrators.

4. The CT FOI Commission erred in concluding that the Yale Campus Police body camera footage from May 8th, 2018 contains uncorroborated criminal allegations and is exempt from disclosure. All of the factual allegations on the Yale Campus Police body camera footage are corroborated and none are of criminal activity.

5. (This is a particularly good point.) My then attorney already watched the Yale Campus Police body camera footage from May 8th, 2018. So, did various Yale Administrators. The law is clear that being able to retain a copy goes hand in hand with being able to view the body camera footage. And, if the Yale Campus Police should have denied disclosure of the YPD body cam footage, then they violated the law by permitting my then attorney to view the footage, by offering me to view the footage, and by allowing Yale Administrators to view the footage. But, it’s not the case.

6. (This is a particularly good point.) The Yale Campus Police cannot make arbitrary and capricious decisions about who can and cannot view Yale Campus Police body camera footage. The CT FOI Commission erred in concluding that a prior disclosure does not preclude the possibility of a subsequent claim of exemption. This is the definition of arbitrary and capricious. The Yale Campus Police does not get to decide that it will abide by open records law for one individual or entity and deny access to records to another individual or entity for arbitrary and capricious reasons.

7. These capricious and arbitrary decisions by the Yale Campus Police Department as to who may and may not view the Yale Campus Police body camera footage from the Living or Napping While Black Hate Crime Hoax at Yale are gross violations of the Equal Protection Clause of the US Constitution. The Yale Campus Police Department afforded Yale Administrators special privileges denied to other CT citizens with no legitimate public purpose for doing so. (This is an excellent point.)

8. None of the allegations are uncorroborated on the YPD body cam footage. And, if there are any uncorroborated allegations on the YPD body cam footage, they are non-criminal in nature, and the exemption does not apply.

9. The Yale Campus Police Department does not get to say magic words that make it the case that I called the non-emergency helpline of the Yale Campus Police on May 8th, 2018, to report a crime. The Yale Campus Police Officers are also peace officers called for a whole slew of non-criminal reasons. They have a whole slew of non-criminal duties. They do not get to simply say that I called them to report a crime so such is the case.

a. The Police could always point to some criminal statute or another and say that they were investigating this or that crime. The exemption would swallow the rule. If George Floyd had been killed in CT, CT would have denied the public access to the body cam footage, b/c Floyd died and the charges against him, of having passed a counterfeit $20 bill, were never proved. The CT Police, at Yale or otherwise, could always deny the public access to police body cam footage that they should rightly have. Law enforcement must be accountable to the public.

10. There is nothing in the Yale Campus Police report from May 8th, 2018 that indicates that any crime occurred or that any alleged crime was investigated.

11. Yale Campus Police Chief Ronnell Higgins made public statements about the Yale Campus Police body camera footage. He doesn’t get to resist disclosure to the public when partial disclosure and commentary thereupon has occurred. This would make it the case that the police could lie to the public about the contents of the body camera footage with no accountability.

12. The CT FOI Commission should have required disclosure of redacted records. Exemptions are to be narrowly construed and redacted records provided to the public, if at all possible, to protect the public’s interest in having access to Police body cam footage.

13. The event, including Siyonbola’s video thereof, has already been publicized thoughout the entire world. I could have recorded my own interactions with the Yale Campus Police, but just happened not to do so. But, my life has been destroyed, and I should be able to release my contemporaneous account of what occurred, via the Yale Campus Police body camera footage from the Living or Napping While Black Hate Crime Hoax at Yale.

END

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