Gaming Sarah Braasch

Cathy Young took a deep dive into the Yale story of “napping while black,” seized upon as a battle in the war against racism at Yale. It revealed a few things of social significance about the outrage industry’s use of whatever fodder it could get its hands on, facts and nuance be damned. What it also revealed was how it manufactured villains, even though they may well be the victim of the story if the facts were known. Sarah Braasch may be such a victim.

Braasch sought the body cam video from the Yale Police Department to prove her case, to vindicate her actions, to end the concerted effort to destroy her for the sake of the social justice narrative.

I had spoken with the Ombudsman at the CT FOIA Commission assigned to my docket, and she had expressed her belief that she would be able to get Yale to release the YPD body camera footage to the public, which would have precluded the need for me to attend a hearing in Hartford on October 3rd.

The Ombudsman told me that Yale was claiming the exemption of not having to release uncorroborated allegations.  The Ombudsman told me that they had NEVER allowed an entity to withhold a video based upon this exemption.  As she astutely pointed out, a video is not an allegation.

Yale, nonetheless, refused to disclose the body cam video. A hearing was demanded, and so October 3 would be the day. Braasch would come to Connecticut for the hearing, and planned to make the most of the trip.

If Yale is going to force me to come to Hartford to get the YPD body camera footage from May 8th, 2018, then I am going to make a spectacle of the affair and drum up as much press as possible.

Whether there will be media interest is unclear. The story had legs when Braasch was the evil racist white woman, but whether there will be interest in Yale’s refusal to release the video is an entirely different matter. A story of racism interests the media. Will a story of a racist hoax have legs? Will this one piece of the story hold interest?

It clearly matters to Braasch, whose life was shredded by the viral story, but attention spans are short, new stories abundant and the concealment of a video that would exonerate the villian of a narrative runs contrary to the greater concerns of social justice. After all, shouldn’t Braasch just suck it up, allow herself to be falsely used as the scapegoat and let it go for the sake of the cause?

But there was a catch for Sarah Braasch. She’s out in Nevada now, and the trip to Connecticut for the hearing required something in short supply, the funds to fly east. But with help, she managed to get tickets and stood ready to face Yale at the hearing.

Then Yale pulled a fast one.

As the contents of the link expressly noted Braasch’s financial limits, Yale’s newly retained lawyer, because they certainly needed new outside counsel to handle a FOIA hearing, would need time to get up to speed. Plus, the new counsel claimed he would be out of the country on the date set for the hearing, which is lawyer code for vacation.

If Yale PD wants a lawyer present, that’s its right. But then, it’s not a right to use a lawyer without knowledge, or the capacity to gain whatever knowledge is needed, in time for the hearing. As for selecting a lawyer who isn’t available on the date set for the hearing, they chose poorly.

But then the witness they claim to need, Chief Ronnell Higgins, who similarly claims to be unavailable on the date set for hearing based on “preexisting commitments,” nails down the strategy. Higgins wasn’t there. Higgins isn’t a witness to anything. And whenever a phrase like “preexisting commitments” is used, it’s to gloss over the question. Is Higgins supposedly needed to oversee war on Iran or does he have tea planned with freshmen? Or does he have no commitments other than doing his job as he would any other day? Who knows?

Braasch, who has already purchased a ticket with the limited funds provided by her friends, would be screwed if the hearing, which shouldn’t happen anyway, gets postponed. And she protested by email the request.

I object to the postponement of the hearing regarding the release of the Yale Police body camera footage from May 8th, 2018, of me only.  There is no need to postpone.  And, postponement puts me in a state of extreme financial hardship, a fact of which I believe Yale is fully aware.  I have already booked my travel, and this travel already put me in a state of extreme financial hardship.

Furthermore, there is no need for Chief Higgins to appear as a witness.  He was not present at any point during the YPD body camera footage. He received the same emails as everyone else did regarding the event in question, and I am going to provide those emails at the hearing, as well as emails and police reports that corroborate my reason for placing the call to the non emergency helpline of the Yale Police Department on May 8th, 2018, which Yale is claiming is an uncorroborated allegation, even though I had been instructed, repeatedly, by the Yale Administration and the Yale Police to call the YPD for any reason, at any time, even if I was unsure that their response was necessary.

Additionally, the exemption Yale is claiming is completely groundless.  They do not even have a prima facie basis for claiming this exemption.

But, of course, Yale’s request for postponement isn’t about any substantive need, either due to new counsel, Higgins’ availability or the legitimacy of their claimed exemption from disclosure of the body cam video.

Yale is fighting a war of attrition, using Braasch’s financial hardship against her, delaying the disclosure as long as possible so that interest will wane and no one will be interested in Yale’s enabling this story of racism to become part of the indisputable lore, and reflect Yale’s commitment to social justice.

If they have to burn Sarah Braasch to make this happen, that’s the price of Yale’s display of solidarity. And if they can make this as hard, time consuming, expensive and delayed as possible, they can beat Braasch, not because she’s the villain of their story but because Yale has the ability to outlast and outpay her. And what’s one person’s life when Yale is fighting for social justice?

15 thoughts on “Gaming Sarah Braasch

  1. John Barloeycorn

    Enough with the deep dive links already esteemed one. The are getting progressively more painful!

    Speaking of which why don’t you just pass the collection jar and hire a few screen writers to modify the Taunting Frenchmen scene at the castle from the Holy Grail and perhaps even throw in the Mr. Creosote scene and call it good.

    I doubt you would need more than a dozen or so different versions to throw up depending on the outrage of the day. All of which if cleverly scripted could be recycled ad nauseam . Then you could spend more time studying that newspaper you read everyday for hidden messages in the crossword puzzle.

    I will throw the film crew in if you can recruit to “actors”….

      1. John Barleycorn

        That elderberriy wine does take to the breeze like a rip current of sorts but then again it could be the black elder bark tea that the bailiffs have been smuggling into chambers via prision transport vans lately.

        Speaking of general direction… Something and something or another about hallways….but on second thought perhaps another time.

  2. Richard Kopf

    SHG,

    I read the link to Ms. Young’s piece. I wish I could write like Ms. Young. She is clear, precise, balanced, objective and insightful. She makes the facts and the participants come alive in her prose. Oh, how I wish young lawyers would emulate Ms. Young when writing briefs.

    Thanks to you for highlighting her writing. All the best.

    RGK

    1. DMT

      An enthusiastic second to the admiration you express for Ms. Young’s article — excellent and highly recommended!

  3. Hunting Guy

    Isn’t the Yale lawyer doing what they are paid to do?

    Making the case go away by any legal means is a win for Yale.

    Isn’t it a time honored tactic to make it too expensive for the opposing party to continue the fight?

    Seems to me they are earning their money.

    But I’m not a lawyer so I may be missing something here.

      1. John Barleycorn

        See what I mean you could even use the modified scenes in the back pages.

        Cueing either Mr. Creosote, the pianist, the maître d’, the waiters, cleaning woman, or the patrons depending on the game and the current score could add a few quials eggs to everyone’s bucket for lunch.

        Just imagine recapturing all that time…

        Not to mention the fact, that I just know you have been yearning for years to get down to business and start serving up wafer-thin mints all around! JUST ONE…….!!!!

        Bon Appétit

  4. L. Phillips

    Also read Ms. Young’s article. Here is one of her conclusions that particularly stood out to me: ” In a way, each woman’s single-minded hypervigilance and sense of grievance—personal for one, racial for the other—made her blind to the other’s humanity.”

    In my military service prior to civilian law enforcement once the “other” is a caricature it is so much easier, even a righteous endeavor, to wholly destroy them without qualm and with the barest of societal restraints. The question for now seems to be whether or not that kind of destruction will remain psychological within our civilian society or become physical.

    As an amateur student of human history generally and warfare in particular, I am not hopeful. I suppose that means I am already lining up my preferred “others”. With luck SHG will prove me wrong and help contain the battles within the framework of generally rational law.

  5. B. McLeod

    The social justice of grinding down the poor by attrition? That’s gotta be better than a napalm-fried donut.

  6. Eric B Rasmusen

    Is the Yale lawyer’s tactic good grounds for a complaint to the state bar association about him? In theory, lawyers are *not* supposed to use tactics like that, and bar associations are supposed to punish them when they do. In practice, of course, bar associations tolerate most lawyer misbehavior, but it might be worth a shot across the bow.

    1. SHG Post author

      No. There’s nothing legally unethical about using delay as a tactic. It’s shitty, but entirely legal and violates no disciplinary rule as long as he doesn’t deceive the court.

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