Editorial Police should name officers involved in fatal shooting

January 4, 2019 GMT

A Taser fired by a Danbury police officer, after what’s described as a brief confrontation, would not stop a suspicious male allegedly wielding a knife Saturday night at a senior housing project near Rogers Park. Then a second police officer fired multiple rounds, killing the man and wounding a woman who lived there.

State Police confirmed Thursday the man dead from a gunshot wound was Paul Arbitelle, the day after The News-Times reported his identity and that the injured woman was his mother, Linda.

Five days after the shooting, neither the state police nor the Danbury Police Department have named the two officers involved in the incident.

This is public information and should be disclosed immediately.

The only reason cited for withholding information from the public is that the incident is under investigation, an explanation typically given by police — but it does not hold up under the state’s Freedom of Information regulations.

What is there to hide? The police officers were performing their public duties and exercising their best judgment. The State Police Western District Major Crime unit, as a matter of procedure and at the request of the Danbury State Attorney’s office, is investigating the use of force.

Generally police officers involved in a fatal shooting will be given desk duty until the investigation is complete. Counseling may be needed for the trauma of killing someone.

To not name these public servants implies they did something wrong and could add to the distress.

We are not judging whether the officers’ actions were justified, that is up to the investigators. We are standing up for the public’s right to know, in this case and every time any official withholds information from the public, for whom they work.