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General News

Taser Death Still Festers in Vermont

By       Message William Boardman       (Page 4 of 7 pages) Become a premium member to see this article and all articles as one long page.     Permalink

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The press release does not say what else Ms Davidonis told them, but if the troopers acted with reasonable professionalism, they had learned the basic outline of Mason's condition: that he was epileptic, that he had had a seizure the night before, that his present state of mind was part of a pattern familiar to Ms Davidonis. 

 

The rest of the official press release creates the utterly false impression that Trooper Shaffer and Mason were in a one-on-one face-off with no one else around.  The release says that Shaffer realized that Mason was unarmed and, in reaction, shouldered his M-4 rifle, but that Mason moved toward him and that he " told investigators that he believed that Mason was going to physically assault him"."

 

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   AG Press Release Riddled with Misleading Omissions

 

The press release does not mention that there were at least three other State Police troopers and a police dog on the scene at point, and that one or more of the troopers witnessed the killing. 

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The press release does not mention that Ms Davidonis had returned to the scene with her son, and that they both witnessed the killing. 

 

The press release does not mention that Ms Davidonis shouted warnings that Mason was in a vulnerable condition.  

The press release does not mention that the autopsy, which was performed in New Hampshire, attributed the cause of death to the taser.  The autopsy report remains secret. 

 

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The press release does not address the question of why, when there was no identifiable emergency, at least four troopers and a police dog decided they needed to enter property they'd been told to stay off and then created a situation in which one of them killed an unarmed man over the shouted warnings of Ms Davidonis. 

 

Most of the state's media coverage omits most of these details, generally reporting -- inaccurately -- that the Attorney General had determined that the police behaved appropriately, which is not what the press release says, although William Sorrell apparently said something to that effect in a news conference.  Here are some of the ways some of the media misinformed their audiences -- each is wrong:

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Vermonter living in Woodstock: elected to five terms (served 20 years) as side judge (sitting in Superior, Family, and Small Claims Courts); public radio producer, "The Panther Program" -- nationally distributed, three albums (at CD Baby), some (more...)
 

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