Yale Catches Braasch In Its “22”

Maybe she was right to be scared, since she was the only student living on a floor when she found a random person asleep in the common room. Maybe she was hypersensitive, irrationally frightened by her discovery. Either way, Sarah Braasch has been hung out to dry in one of the early “Karen” myths that have wound their way into irrefutable reality when she was identified as the white woman in the “sleeping while black” scandal at Yale.

Since then, she’s sought the Yale police body cam video to prove that her concerns weren’t racial. The issue isn’t whether the video will prove her right or wrong, victim or Karen. The issue is that she’s fought to get the video released, and to at least be in the position to vindicate herself as a scared student, maybe wrongly, but not a racist.

No dice, as the proposed order concludes.

A bad outcome is one thing. It happens, and happens regularly. But the hearing officer at the Connecticut Freedom of Information Commission didn’t just dismiss her action, but came up with a spectacular Catch-22 to rationalize it.

Braasch was fearful before the incident, believing herself to be the victim of harassment, and the Yale police told her to call if she was afraid, whether she was sure there was a problem or she was just scared. So she did, calling the non-emergency number about this random person asleep in the common room of her floor. She didn’t call 911 to accuse anyone of a crime or get the cops to come with guns drawn, but because she faced a situation that was inexplicable to her and, well, she was afraid.

At the hearing, the question was whether the body cam video fell within an except to the rule requiring disclosure.

II. Section 1-210(b)(3), G.S., provides that disclosure is not required of:

[r]ecords of law enforcement agencies not otherwise available to the public which records were compiled in connection with the detection or investigation of crime, if the disclosure of such records would not be in the public interest because it would result in the disclosure of … (H) uncorroborated allegations subject to destruction pursuant to section 1-216.

There are two notable aspects of this rule, the first being “uncorroborated allegations.” It’s both good and understandable that this is an exception, as it protects a person from baseless accusations being put out in the wild as if they were real. It’s an understandable inclusion, but it’s only one aspect of the exception worthy of note. The other is that disclosure “would not be in the public interest,” which is the overarching issue reached when the condition precedent, an uncorroborated allegation,” triggers it.

Nary a word about the public interest was mentioned.

Given that this incident went viral, with the woman napping in the common room being universally understood to be a Yale student, not some random criminal, and tainting Sarah Braasch in perpetuity as the racist white woman, there is an overwhelming public interest in clearing up whether this was the racial incident its held out to be or a matter of a frightened woman doing nothing more than the Yale police told her to do.

But rather than consider whether disclosure of the truth of that racial aspect of the incident was in the public interest, whether transparency was better than concealment that protected the racist narrative, the hearing officer slithered through a crack.

The Yale police decided, on their own and without regard to what Braasch did to initiate their involvement, that they were engaged in a criminal investigation. The Hearing Officer held that it didn’t matter what Braasch said or did, but was entirely up to the Yale cops to characterize their response in whatever way they deemed best. And they claimed it was criminal, at least when it came to disclosing their body cam video.

And since the upshot of their criminal investigation was that the sleeping person was a Yale student and not a criminal, the “allegations,” which weren’t criminal allegations to begin with even if Yale police chose to make them into criminal allegations, were “uncorroborated.” Poof, there is no duty to reveal the video because of the exception, which Yale police both invented and concluded despite anything Sarah could have said or done.

Sarah Braasch has written a post comparing this conundrum to the George Floyd killing, where there was no corroboration of Floyd’s committing a crime because they killed him before any investigation corroborated the allegation that he passed a bad $20.

George Floyd was accused of criminal activity, and he was never charged. Of course, he was never charged, because he was killed by the Minneapolis Police Officers present. But, simply because he was never charged with a crime, the Minneapolis Police Officers investigating, based upon the call by the store, means that CT would have denied the public access to this Police Body Camera Footage.

The comparison has some similarities, but also some distinctions that make it less than compelling. But that does not mean that the Catch-22 in which Braasch found herself didn’t present an impossible situation for a person who didn’t ask to be demonized as the poster girl for racism and is now denied the evidence that she hopes will exonerate her, not from doubts as to whether her fear was justified, but as to her fear being motivated by racism.

But would the video even do that? Beats me. I haven’t seen it. But then again, neither have all the people for whom Sarah Braasch is an irrefutable racist, not because she is but because the sleeping woman was black, Sarah was white, and that’s what the viral narrative decided.

22 thoughts on “Yale Catches Braasch In Its “22”

  1. F. Lee Billy

    Braash is not at all rash to be afraid. Yale is surrounded by a big ghetto which is the city-at-large. However, Yale does have an extensive security system which is not often breached. Been there, done that.

    Furthermore, My dear Watson, would Sarah have been frightened if the sleeping person were of Anglo Saxon descent? Am sure others have asked the same question. And how dangerous can a sleeping person be anyhow, unless he/she walks in his sleep?

    Furthermore, Yale cops are known locally to be wannabe cops, because they are often unable to get hired by the city. They’re not of the same calibre,… Pardon the pun! They’re entitled to make arrests anywhere, irregardless of whether those arrests have anything to do with the university or its vast properties. And they do.

    Furthermore, a lot of folks don’t know, they’re allowed, through legislative dispensation, to carry firearms on duty. They are the only auxiliary private police force allowed to do so in the state. They are easily mistaken for city cops.

    Like we have said many times, CT is a Bermuda Triangle of the Legal Mind. The I-91 corridor from Nu Haven to the Mass. border is the 👂 of this triangle. Been there, done that!

    1. SHG Post author

      You’re on a roll today, Bill. That is indeed the question, whether Braasch’s fear had anything to do with race. That’s why she’s seeking the video, since her saying so means nothing compared to the presumptive narrative.

  2. Steve White

    Yes, it is a spectacular Catch 22 and leaves the cops able to deny access to a lot of public records- which seems to be the point . Maybe I am misunderstanding the implications, but sounds like – when the cops screw up, and arrest, or worse, the wrong person, as long as they drop or do not file charges, they can deny all the records under the reasoning given, because with dismissal of charges, everything remains uncorroborated, doesn’t it? Seems like a massive loophole if they use it properly. I note it looked like there is still one more hearing on September 9 , so maybe she has a small chance of getting this reversed?

    I tend to believe Braasch’s explanation of this entire saga – she saw one person in her building who did not explain his presence to her, (a friend of the woman in this incident, also of African descent) called the cops, and has been harassed ever since.

    But I wonder about her approach – can she possibly get vindication in this way? From my interactions with a prominent academic in an Ivy League school on the Left Coast, I believe you can not regain or correct the narrative with accurate information alone – the audience, highly intelligent Straight A students all, has learned the abstractions underlying the narrative too well – structural racism, implicit bias, all the rest- – mere facts will not persuade them the theory does not apply. A famous historian wrote about his first hand experience living in a country overwhelmed by propaganda – otherwise very rational and intelligent people came to accept absurd claims made by the state without question, and he was repeatedly astonished by it, but found you could not reason them out of it.

    I do not see any way for Braasch to fix this with “THE TRUTH”

  3. David Zimmerman

    I do understand Ms B’s concern that all the evidence bearing on her case be released. \
    However, the outstanding question remains without a convincing answer: Would she have been so fearful if the sleeping person had been white?

    Ms B, please convincingly answer this question?

    1. SHG Post author

      She has asserted, unequivocally, over and over, that she would have been just as fearful of an unknown person there regardless of race. Some will be convinced by her assertion. Some will not be convinced no matter what. Some, she believes, will be convinced if they see the body cam video of what she said at the time to the Yale police.

      That’s why she wants the video.

        1. Steve White

          David Zimmerman – I am curious, do you think she is morally or otherwise wrong if she IS more scared of black people than white people ? I realize it’s an issue for the people at Yale, but is that a standard white people must be held to generally? I am honestly interested in exploring your thinking.

          1. SHG Post author

            A lovely swan dive down your own special rabbit hole (and put poor David in the untenable position of his response being trashed because you don’t get to ask questions you’re “honestly interested in exploring”) on my fucking blawg. I will be happy to give David your email address so the two of you can “explore” this well into the night if you so desire. In private.

          2. David Zimmerman

            Yes … she is much more morally wrong to be more afraid of black thah white people….

            What fu…..cking world do you live on?

            1. Sgt. Schultz

              Yeah, I deserve whatever spanking I get, and completely acknowledge that we’re now ten steps beyond the post and this has nothing to do with Braasch’s FOI denial, but you have to admit, Steve’s question is a good one, and David’s answer is exactly what he had to say.

              Is it racist to be more afraid of a person because of their race? Of course, and yet, it’s also rational. Black people disproportionate commit murders and assaults, which might well be due to racism in education, employment, redlining, etc., but that doesn’t change the fact that murder and assault happens, and is more likely to happen when the person is black.

              David uses the “morality” defense against facts, but morality doesn’t stop a bullet. Whether David would give up his life for the cause, does that mean Sarah should? And I bet David wouldn’t, and if put to the test, David would be no different than anyone else, survive first and praise vague ideals later.

              But even if Braasch’s fear was irrational and racist, does that make it any less real to her? Of course not. Fear isn’t rational, and David’s call to morality sounds great in a classroom or on a blog, but would his dick shrivel up if he was faced with a group of black kids demanding he give up his wallet and smartphone?

              Every SJW packs a bag of rhetoric in service of his cause, but let them put up or shut up when they see a bullet coming their way. And if they won’t take the bullet for the cause, they give away their claim to “morality” when they demand that someone else do what they never would.

              And even more importantly, if they would take a bullet for their cause, they would be idiots. Dead idiots. But none of this has anything to do with this post, so I apologize for wasting yuor bandwidth with my nonsense.

  4. Steve White

    No offense meant, but you brought it up by quoting Braasch’s statement on it, and David responded directly to that. How is it “my special rabbit hole” when the two of you were discussing it already and it’s one of the main issues for the people attacking Braasch at Yale?
    But, please, forward my email to him, I really am curious about his answers.

    1. SHG Post author

      You’re having bad acid flashbacks? There’s no offense involved, and it’s not that your question isn’t interesting. It’s just taking Zimmerman’s childish point in a completely different direction than this post. Just because someone says something in a comment does not entitle you to hijack the comments because a tangent interests you or compel me to argue the point with you. Does that help you to understand better?

      So fine question, just not here. You can always start a blawg of your own and write about this as much as you want. And if Zimmerman wants to discuss it, I will be happy to provide your email, now that you’ve given me permission. Have fun!

  5. F. Lee Billy

    Steve is not really “white.” Ahem! But he is honest. Like every commenter on this blawg! Ahem and ahaw?
    Ya know, he might possibly be related to that Zimmerman in Fla. Who shot and killed the suspicious black youth returning from the convenience store in Fred Roger’s friendly neighborhood. Ahem. He might be a troll forgodsake.
    And then there’s Groundhog Day with what’s-his-face, one of the funniest movies ever.

    P.S., Steve, when you sign onto SJ, you must anticipate being ostracized to some “rabbit hole” somewhere. It’s par for the course, trust it. Get used to the abuse!

    1. SHG Post author

      Some people tell me that they don’t understand why I let you comment, Bill. I tell them it’s because I fear you would be a serial killer if you didn’t have a catharsis, and I do it for the sake of your inchoate victims. There’s method to my “abuse,” Bill. No need to thank me.

      1. F. Lee Billy

        Not a serial killer, but possibly a hit-man. (Only kidding, FBI troll-masters. I am a good guy, trust it.)
        What’s an inchoate anyhow? Is it something like an artichoke? Can you grow it in your garden?
        What’s a catharsis anyhow? I did not major in Greek tragedy, but have suffered sufficient tragedy at the hands of our stewpid courts and judges who do not know the Law. For real!
        Very Frusterating. Almost wants to make you want to throw-up and vote Republicant. Did I just say that?

        Oh hi, Al Gore! Did anyone ever call you Boring?
        End message.

  6. Sarah Braasch

    I just want to make clear that the notion that I would ever be uncomfortable around someone or be suspicious of someone, simply because of the color of their skin is beyond ludicrous. So, the next response will be that I’m trying to use an “but I have Black friends” argument. I’m just telling the simple truth. I was raised in a racially integrated and insular religious cult, the Jehovah’s Witnesses. I had no idea what racism even was until I got to public school. Also, I am a well-documented and lifelong human and civil rights activist. Do people know a lot of white supremacists who use their JDs to move to France to help African immigrant women and their children get visas to live in France without being discriminated against? Do people know a lot of white supremacists who would risk their careers to stand up for the Federal Civil Rights of an Evangelical Black man at Yale? I encourage people to google my not common name before pontificating on exactly how racist I am, just like I encourage the New York Times and the ACLU and blue check mark public figures on Twitter to google someone’s name before setting out to destroy them. Imagine that.

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