Release The Video! A Sarah Braasch Story

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I keep saying I’m not going to write about Sarah Braasch anymore, then something occurs to where I feel compelled to add to my Sarah Library of posts. This time is based on a post of Sarah’s own, where she has uploaded Response Briefs from her lawyers and Yales as well. You can view the post here, and I encourage everyone to click on the links of the briefs, especially the one from the outside counsel representing Yale because that’s the one I am going to comment on in this post.

First, a little history. On November 4, 2019, Sarah, along with her legal representative met with the Connecticut Freedom of Information Commission (FOIC) to plead her case, asking for the release of the 15-20 minute video of the officer response to her call in the early morning hours of May 8, 2018, concerning an unknown person sleeping in the 12th floor common room of the Graduate Studies Dormitory. The responding officer  had a body camera to record the encounter with both Sarah and the then, unknown person. It came to light that the other person was indeed a Yale graduate student as was using the common room to study for finals, but had fallen asleep.

Of course the other person made a recording of the encounter with Sarah and uploaded it for the world to see, claiming that Sarah was a racist by reporting her ( a black woman) to campus police. As I wrote about in my very first post about this, almost a year ago now, I had viewed that uploaded video and, not being an expert in any way concerning video, could easily tell that what became viral on the Internet was heavily edited. So, I among some others, took up Sarah’s cause. Before I dive into the response brief from Yale to the FOIC, I think I need to add a few more comments, questions actually.

Why not release the body camera video of the incident? It will either support Sarah’s contention that there was no racism involved or it won’t. Easy. Note that the day after the incident that the Yale administration came out and implied in their statement that Sarah was a racist. How does anyone recover from that other than to ask for the actual video. itself? Her life was ruined, her career, as a Civil Rights Lawyer? Destroyed.

I want to repeat what I’ve said before, beginning in the post that I linked above. I would drop Sarah like a hot rock if I ever discovered that there was even the slightest deception (lie) from her. Over the past year, having written several posts about her, and only knowing her through Twitter, I have never found a single statement she’s made to be untrue. And yes, for my fellow skeptics. I’ve looked hard to find the smallest of deceptions.

To understand the entire background of this, I refer readers to Sarah’s YouTube channel where she documents her experience at Yale in the Winter/early Spring of 2018, leading up to the May 8, 2018 event.

Of course Yale offered Sarah the opportunity \to view the video, not release it to her, just go someplace where she could view the police body camera video by herself. How does that help her in restoring her name and reputation? Well, of course it doesn’t and only adds to the suspicion that there’s something Yale is attempting to hide, or at least obfuscate in order to be relieved  from any  legal consequences for their actions.  But none of this gives anyone an opportunity to derive truth from fiction. Did Sarah actually make racist comments on that video and if she did, why would she want that released to the world?

Anyone with a modicum of common sense, whatever that means would say that  ther’s no way that Sarah would want the video released if it placed her in a poor light. That she is fighting for the release should tell everyone something else, and for now, I’ll leave that to the reader to discern.

The argument, from Yale, is that the video contains “uncorroborated criminal” accusations.Where do those “criminal” accusations come from? From Sarah? Yale’s counsel, selectively quoting from her call to YPD places this in context. This is an exact quote from the brief beginning with the title of the section, II (a) which states:

Ms. Braasch’s Allegations Against the Sleeping Student.

What “allegations” did Sarah make and did they constitute any criminality? In fact, did Sarah ever claim any criminal activity? Well, let’s read on:

On Tuesday, May 8 2018 at approximately 1:40 ak, Ms Braasch called the YPD to report that there was an unknown woman sleeping the common room   on the 12th floor of the graduate school resident hall.  Resp. Exp, 2. Ms. Braasch repeatedly testified that she told the YPS that there was a “complete stranger” sleeping in the common room. Braasch Test. CD 1 Track 2 (42:20-43:38). (“I told them I had no idea who the person was. they were a complete stranger to me.”). “I didn’t know if she was a Yale affiliate, I didn’t know if she was a student, I didn’t know if she was a resident, I didn’t know if she was a guest of the resident. And I made this clear to…whichever officer answered the phone.

Of course, I don’t have the entire conversation that Sarah had with whomever she spoke with at YPD so, like the opposing attorney, I’ll make up the content of Sarah’s call here. ”Hello, police? Yes, I’d like to report that there’s an unknown person, asleep in “the common room on my floor. Would you send an officer to investigate?” Well, of course they would, or they should. It’s their job. I have no idea of the percentage of calls the YPD receives on a daily basis as to any sort of criminal activity, or just students being students on campus and the police, performing due diligence to ensure safety on campus. that’s why YPD dispatched an officer to investigate Sarah’s claim. Here’s the crux:  did Sarah ever, in her call, say or imply any criminal activity? No she didn’t. It was the Y{D that assumed sme sort of criminal activity, which isn’t a mark against YPD, it’s just that it’s not  appropriate to give the FOIC the impression that sarah made a criminal complaint. She didn’t..

What “uncorroborated “ charges are Yale saying exist on the video? Did Sarah make any statements other than those in the police report, or in the video that would make any of us pause? If so, why doesn’t the counsel for Yale state those outright? They’re not there, and I read the entire document. The reason I didn’t take apart the remainder of the argument that it is filled with nothing more than an attempt at character assassination. That’s the-majority of the brief.

What’s worse is that Yale presents no new information beyond what was presented before the commission on November 4, 2019. their witness then? The YPD Chief who wasn’t present during the incident. Ever heard of “hear-say” evidence? That’s right, the responding officer never appeared before the commission. Testimony in any trial would only include eye witnesses. Of course, this was not a trial before the FOIC but it seems to me that they would have required a modicum of direct evidence from Yale before even requesting supporting documentation, But hey, I’m not a lawyer and what the heck do I know about something we call “due process”.

So let’s everyone stop for a moment, whether you believe Sarah’s story or not: Why would Sarah fight for the release of a video  that may show her to be exactly what she’s been accused of? Would you? Would anyone? That alone tells me a lot of which I am unable to discover from Sarah herself. Sure, she’s told me a lot, but there are always so many more questions left to be answered. Fighting for the video? Answers most if nor all for me.

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