NEW BRITAIN -- Police said a teal Toyota Paseo had been suspected in a string of carjackings and armed robberies when it was stopped on December 14th of last year.
Police said they opened fired because the car hit several police vehicles as it tried to flee.
“This is a really unique and troubling case because it was a situation where an officer fired on a car full of young people,” said ACLU-Connecticut Executive Director, David McGuire.
20-year-old aspiring rapper Zoe Dowdell of Bloomfield, who was driving the car, was killed. The ACLU-Connecticut is representing Dowdell’s father. The organization and Dowdell’s family want police to make the dash cam footage public.
“So we filed a Freedom of Information Act request for the video and surrounding documents with the New Britain Police and State Police on behalf of those Dad,” McGuire said.
The Freedom of Information request was filed six months ago in March. It has been nearly nine months since the shooting and neither Dowdell, nor the ACLU has seen the police video.
However, 16-year-old Caleb Tisdol’s parents have seen it. Tisdol, who is from Enfield, was in Dowdell’s car along with Noah Young of Bloomfield. They were 15 and 18 years old respectively at the time. Tisdol’s father, William, said the dash cam video does not match up with police reports.
“When he arrives on the scene you can clearly see directly in front of his dash cam, the car is sitting still,” William Tisdol said. He also said the footage shows Dowdell’s car was parked when two unmarked police cruisers hit him first before Dowdell’s car spun around and he tried to take off with Tisdol and Young inside.
“My son yelled out of the car he said you guys can stop shooting he’s dead,” William Tisdol said. “When they heard my son's voice they opened fire on the car again.”
Tisdol was shot in the leg. “My son’s hands were in the sky like this is,” Wialliam Tisdol said as he gestured with his hands up. “His hands were up.”
Caleb Tisdol is serving time in Cheshire. He is charged as an adult for weapons and drug offenses related to that night as well as robbery and assault charges, from the weeks prior. His father believes the dash cam footage would prove his innocence.
“And that’s why it’s being swept under the rug right now,” William Tisdol said.
“There should be a standardized rule where the police have to make public this kind of footage,” McGuire said.
The ACLU-Connecticut it is awaiting a trial date to make their case for the dash cam footage before the Freedom of Information Commission
New Britain Police, Connecticut State Police and the State’s Attorney’s Office declined to comment.