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Judge Denies Request to Release 911 Tape

A Dane County (Wisc.) judge has denied a request by local newspapers and TV stations to release the logging tape of a 911 call made from murder victim Brittany Zimmermann’s apartment last April. At the same time, county officials released the text of e-mails sent by comm center employees in connection with the case. Zimmermann was later found murdered, and no suspect has been identified. County officials initially did not release information that a 911 call had been received, and then declined to describe the contents of the call. But court documents later revealed that a scream can be heard on the tape, along with the sounds of scuffling. Circuit Court Judge Richard Ness issued a long ruling, acknowledging misstatements by county officials regarding the case. He rejected the argument by Madison city officials that releasing the call would violate the victim’s rights, and another argument that it would violate the 911 caller’s privacy. He said the call did have certain investigative value, and therefore should remain confidential for the moment. Read the entire store here. Download (pdf) the 26 pages of the interesting email messages here, including page 18 where supervisors discuss how a dispatcher was questioned by Madison police detectives, and page 22 where dispatcher Rita Gahagan, who answered the Zimmermann 911 call, pleads with the 911 director to release more accurate information to the press.

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