Monday, August 11, 2014

Miami Beach Police Chief Daniel Oates scheduled to give 'confidential, law-enforcement sensitive' briefings on the Aurora theater shooting

The shooting at a movie theater in Aurora Colorado on July 20, 2012 ranks as one of the worst cases of mass murder in this country.

The shooting left 12 people dead and 58 wounded.

James Holmes, the man accused of the shooting, will go on trial this December.

A May 1, 2013 Denver Post story reported:
[I]ncident and internal reports portray a chaotic and confused scene, with patients spread over eight locations and paramedics trapped in gridlock from parked cars and running moviegoers.

Initial reports indicated there was only one person shot and that there were possible bombs in the front and rear of the theater. Additionally, the most urgent requests to help patients initially directed responders to Dillard's parking lot, not in and behind the theater.

As the sheer scope of the scene became clear and emergency vehicles tried to get closer, bleeding victims running from the scene surrounded them, making further progress impossible, the report said. Many of the injured patients initially triaged by paramedics drove themselves to the hospital.

Miami Beach Police Chief Daniel Oates. 
Aurora's police chief in 2012 was Daniel Oates. Oates is now chief of Miami Beach's police department.

Oates declined to comment for the Denver Post story last year citing a gag order. [Click here to read Pretrial Publicity Order.]

But Random Pixels has learned that Oates, in response to requests by members of his department, has scheduled a series of "detailed presentations" that will examine "the police response and subsequent investigation" of the theater shooting. The presentations are scheduled for two days in September and one in October.

In a department-wide email sent out last Friday Oates writes, "it is a confidential, law-enforcement sensitive briefing, as there is a court gag order on the case while the defendant awaits trial."

From: Oates, Daniel J.
Date: August 8, 2014 at 8:35:18 AM EDT
To: Police Department
Subject: Presentation on Aurora Theater Shooting; Three Dates Scheduled

Dear Colleagues,

I have been asked by many of you about the Aurora Theater shooting that occurred on July 20, 2012. Many of you have expressed interest in what happened that night and in how the police response and subsequent investigation were handled. I have a detailed presentation on the event and lessons my former department learned from the experience, and I am willing to share it with members of MBPD. It is a confidential, law-enforcement sensitive briefing, as there is a court gag order on the case while the defendant awaits trial. The presentation takes about 90 minutes. So in response to the requests of many of you, I have set the presentation for three separate times in the days ahead so that as many of you as possible may attend. The presentations will take place in Commission Chambers at City Hall. The dates and times are as follows:

September 5: 1400 hours

September 17: 0830 hours

October 1: 0830 hours

While every member of the Department is welcome to attend this training, overtime is not authorized. Supervisors should make every reasonable accommodation to allow on-duty members to attend. However, needs of the Department and basic service delivery must come first. Also, it would be helpful to know how many folks are coming on each day. So please send an email to Lori Freedline indicating the day on which you plan to attend. Thank you.

Chief Oates

Daniel J. Oates, Chief of Police
1100 Washington Avenue, Miami Beach, FL 33139
Tel: 305.673.7925  /  Fax: 305.673.7065 /

In February of last year, the Denver Post reported, "The judge overseeing the Aurora movie theater shooting case ... denied a request by the city of Aurora to lift or modify the gag order covering the case."
"Attorneys for Aurora had asked 18th Judicial District Chief Judge William Sylvester to lift the gag order to allow Aurora police officers to give talks to other departments about how they responded to the July 20 tragedy.  Aurora says an order from Sylvester intended to limit pre-trial publicity blocks officers from giving such talks."
Today, in response to an inquiry from Random Pixels on the issue of the gag order as it relates to the chief's presentation, Miami Beach Police Department spokesperson Vivian Thayer said, "[Chief Oates] is not concerned with any violation of the gag order as his presentation does not create any pre-trial publicity. The presentation is for law enforcement personnel only."

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