Newtown CT First Selectman on 911 Tapes' Release: 'Treat Us Kindly'

Nearly one year after the tragic school shooting, Newtown's highest elected official is calling for restraint from the media on the 911 call recordings' release.

Newtown First Selectman Pat Llodra
Newtown First Selectman Pat Llodra
By Davis Dunavin

The 911 recordings placed from Sandy Hook Elementary School on the morning of Dec. 14 will now be available to the world, and First Selectman Pat Llodra is asking the media for restraint.

On Wednesday, CDs containing their contents are being released to media outlets, and Newtown is bracing for a fresh round of potentially painful reminders of the shooting. In a statement released on her blog Tuesday, First Selectman Pat Llodra called for the media to "treat us kindly" in reporting the calls, saying they will "create a new layer of pain for many in the Newtown community."

"Hearing those calls takes us back to a day of horror and tragedy," she said. "Imagine yourself as a parent of a child who was killed, or a family member of
one of the six educators. Imagine yourself as a teacher or staff member in that building desperate to save the lives of children. Imagine you are the parent of a child who was able to escape. Then ask yourself, media person, what is the public good and how do I balance that against the hurt?'"

The release comes in between two other tense events: the release of the official state report on the shooting, and the one-year anniversary next Saturday. The tapes were the subject of a court battle between state and town officials and a group of news outlets, including the Associated Press and Hearst Connecticut. After the state's Freedom of Information Commission ruled they must be released, Newtown and state officials appealed, but a state judge upheld the ruling last week.

Newtown Patch will not provide coverage or links to the content of the tapes.
Jim beam December 04, 2013 at 04:46 PM
"Newtown Patch will not provide coverage or links to the content of the tapes." Bravo and thank you, Patch. Voyeurs of violence porn go somewhere else to satisfy your prurient interests.
Rapture December 04, 2013 at 05:27 PM
Let's hope this Monroe Patch has the same restraint...
lmf59 December 04, 2013 at 05:40 PM
NO one needs to hear these. I pray I don't hear them anywhere in the media.
Crown Royal December 05, 2013 at 09:26 AM
Ill admit, I listened to them, but not for the sadistic value, but to study and review them. In general I am extremely interested in how people handle themselves when thrown into chaotic situations, especially pertaining to Police Dispatchers. The actions of the Custodian, and the Police Dispatchers were extremely admirable, and professional that morning. I am glad they did release the tapes though, it should have been done months ago to not force the town to relive this so close to the anniversary.
Jim beam December 05, 2013 at 09:48 AM
CR: As one who has batted around issues with you in the past, I appreciate your perspective. You have always seemed to be one who applies critical judgement to various matters. My concern is that private tragedies are forced to be re-lived by the victim's families and that unprincipled people use these tapes for exploitive and titillating purposes.
lmf59 December 05, 2013 at 09:50 AM
We already knew that "people" handled themselves admirably and professionally, and even heroically. It was totally unnecessary to sensationalize this tragedy by releasing these tapes to the general public, either now OR months ago. Newtown as a whole, the SHES family, and especially the victims' loved ones have suffered immeasurably already. This just compounds their pain. Leave them alone.
Crown Royal December 05, 2013 at 11:35 AM
lmf, while I agree with you that we heard that everyone involved had handled themselves admirably and appropriately, what if the tapes contradicted what you had been told previously? Personally, even though I think the dispatchers acted appropriately, I couldn't help but wonder why they took some of the steps they did. For example when I listened it seemed like they contacted the First Selectwoman prior to officially contacting the State Police for assistance. By releasing these tapes to the public it can spearhead policy changes to ensure response times to situations like this are constantly improved, as well as provide training scenarios for the future. Jim, while I agree that this might temporarily bring those memories back, I think that by releasing all of the details at once, or in a short series of events, it allows the families to move forward after the final release. I am just grateful the coward killed himself, so the families didn't have to relive the events daily for the next couple years in the courts.
lmf59 December 05, 2013 at 06:07 PM
CR- The families had the option to hear the tapes. If there was any indication that something could have been done differently to save those children and educators, or to prevent another violent episode, there would be lawyers all over it by now. It took less than 5 minutes for the shooter to slaughter 26 people before he killed himself because police arrived within 4 minutes of the first call. There was no time to do anything any differently than they did. The victims' families and attorneys should be given access to the tapes, not the general public for the purpose of exploitation, sensationalization, or just plain twisted nosiness. The grieving families that I know personally from SHES did NOT want these tapes released. They and the first responders do not want anyone throwing gas on this fire a year later. Out of pure human compassion, Judge Prescott could have easily interpreted the Freedom of Information ruling the other way, and kept this between the parties involved. It is shameful these tapes were released just because the corrupt Associated Press petitioned to get hold of them for its self serving purposes.
Crown Royal December 06, 2013 at 09:04 AM
See, personally I look at it the opposite way. The public has a right to hear these types of thing and read the investigative reports, as outlined by law in CT. Did the release of these tapes hurt any single SHES family more than it did a family member of the liquor distribution murders? How about Dr. Petit, or families of 9/11 victims? I am not trying to pick a fight with you, I just feel like there are going to be 2 sides to this issue, and one side is never going to convince the other side that the 'grass is greener'. I simply wanted to offer a viewpoint, that some/most who listen to these tapes, and review the reports, and offer their viewpoints are well-standing citizens who simply want to know more about this.
lmf59 December 06, 2013 at 09:56 AM
We simply disagree. There are some things that serve no purpose other than to cause additional anguish on victims. In the case of Dr Petit, are you aware of the horrible things the "public" said about him? The torture and slaughter of his family was sensationalized and exploited in the most disgusting ways. Just like the sadistic "public" that have spent the past year publicly claiming that Sandy Hook was a hoax. Now, I guarantee that someone who hears the SH tapes will exploit them in a sick and twisted way. "Freedom of information" and "freedom of speech" have been manipulated and misinterpreted for the purposes I stated in my last post. They are "freedoms" for a few, but intrusive and exploitive for most. In the case of 911, that was an attack on the whole country, not an individual family or neighborhood. Different circumstances altogether. Perhaps if you personally knew any of the SH families and have witnessed how they have been tormented by the press from the very beginning, and by some sick individuals that continue to throw salt in their wounds, you might think differently. The "right to know" private and painful details, IMO, should be limited to those directly involved and not the general public. As far as being outlined by law in CT, that law could easily have been interpreted differently, without breaking it, at the judge's discretion. I respect your viewpoint. I just passionately disagree with it.


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