Families' contention: This statement was utterly false. Other victim's clothes were released a full year before Daniel Rohrbough's parents received his clothes.
News' findings: The family was told Rohrbough's clothes were a biohazard; some victims clothes were released to other families earlier. However, several other families got their clothes back at the same time as the Rohrbough family.
Petrone, in the Sept. 1, 1999, meeting with West and Battan, asked if his clothes were being held as evidence.
West's initial response is not audible on the tape -- the Rohrbough family believes he nodded his head "yes" -- but then he said, "And because of biohazard, we can't release those."
Daniel's clothes were returned to his family Feb. 22, 2001. The families of five other victims got their loves ones' clothes that day, and two other releases were made on Feb. 21, 2001, and on March 6, 2001.
However, at least two families had their childrens' clothes returned to them in 2000.
The records released so far do not reflect when -- or if -- three other families received their childrens' clothing.
15. Officially: Rohrbough's family was told the department could not release his clothes because they were evidence in an "ongoing" investigation.
Families' contention: Once again this statement was utterly false as demonstrated by the fact that other victim's clothes were released.
News' findings: The family was told that Rohrbough's clothes were needed for evidence.
Brian Rohrbough asked in the Sept. 1, 1999, meeting how long his son's clothing would be held for evidence.
"We want to make sure there aren't going to be any trials," West said. "If we would ever find a third person that was involved in this, we'd need all the evidence for that."
But sheriff's officials released clothing to at least two families in 2000.
16. Officially: The department said that FBI interviews with the Browns were not given to the Columbine investigation task force and were therefore not included in the files released by the county.
Families' contention: Even so, sheriff's investigators mentioned statements made by the Browns to FBI agents in their own materials.
News' findings: Sheriff's officials made that statement about the FBI documents, and investigators did write a report that included statements about the Browns' interviews with federal agents.
The department released previously undisclosed documents on April 19, 2001, saying they hadn't been provided to the task force and therefore hadn't been included in earlier releases.
However, on page 9,086 of the documents released in late 2000, a sheriff's investigator talked about two FBI interviews with Brooks Brown.
"They had them and they read them," Randy Brown said at the time.
17. Officially: The Brown family was interviewed for 11 hours by the FBI. The sheriff's department told them everything had been produced in the open records case (filed by the families and members of the media), and there were no other records of their interviews.
Families' contention: The same day the sheriff's department denied the Browns' request for copies of their interviews, FBI agent Dwayne Fuselier read about the missing interviews in a media report and located them. The sheriff's department had made absolutely no effort to find these interviews before denying they existed.
News' findings: Federal officials did conclude, after reading a news story, that they had not forwarded their reports to Jefferson County sheriff's investigators.
On April 19, 2001, the sheriff's department released a statement that said FBI officials had checked their files and "found that interviews conducted with Randy and Judy Brown on April 22, 1999, and Brooks Brown on April 29, 1999, were not forwarded to the Jefferson County investigation file for Columbine High School."
The previous day, Agent Fuselier sent a letter to sheriff's officials explaining how he'd seen a news report about the Brown interviews and began looking for the documents. His search led him to his computer, where he found copies of the interviews that were not included in the investigative file.
18. Officially: Denver police Sgt. Daniel O'Shea was told on April 22, 1999, that ballistics tests proved that no law enforcement bullet hit any victim.
Families' contention: The bullets were not transmitted to the Colorado Bureau of Investigation until May 5, 1999. It was not possible for any such ballistics information (even initial findings) to have been available April 22.
News' findings: A sworn statement supports the families' contention about O'Shea, and documents show that ballistics evidence wasn't sent to the CBI laboratory until May 5, 1999.
Jefferson County Sheriff's Office spokeswoman Jacki Tallman has agreed that ballistics tests were not completed two days after Columbine.
O'Shea denies he shot Rohrbough.
19. Officially: When it recently released maps of evidence outside the school, the department said the maps were "identical" to the original FBI maps that had been shown to some victims' families.
Families' contention: The recently released CD-ROM of FBI evidence mapping is missing obvious and crucial data. For example, the location of police bullets in critical areas had been removed. Even the location of one of the victims (Rachel Scott) has been removed.
News' findings: The discrepancies alleged by the families' exist, as do other contradictions between the original map and the CD-ROM that was released.
An examination of the CD-ROM and of photographs of one small section of the original map show discrepancies in the location of police ballistics evidence inside the west doors.
Similarly, Rachel Scott's body is not depicted on the evidence map reproduced on the computer disc.
An examination of a crime scene drawing in the area near Daniel Rohrbough shows several pieces of evidence in different locations from where they are depicted on the CD-ROM. For example, item No. 2123, a Dr Pepper can, is shown at Daniel's feet on the CD-ROM and near his head on the original crime scene drawing. Item No. 2124, an off-white sweater, is shown on the stairs above Daniel on the original crime scene drawing but is below his body on the CD-ROM. Several pieces of ballistics evidence also are in different locations.
20. Officially: Jefferson County Sheriff John Stone said the day after the first part of this lawsuit was filed in April 2000 that "ballistics" data conclusively proved that law enforcement personnel could not have killed Daniel Rohrbough.
Families' contention: Stone knew the fatal bullet was never recovered and the only bullet recovered could not be positively identified.
News' findings: The families' allegation could not be independently verified.
Stone spoke with the News regarding the lawsuit the day after it was filed. He was not directly quoted on ballistics.
The story said, "Ballistics tests show no evidence that Rohrbough died from wounds other than those inflicted by the teen killers, authorities have said."
Stone was quoted as saying, "They (deputies) now have to defend themselves in ridiculous court actions."
Ballistics do not prove who fired the shots that killed Rohrbough. The sheriff has relied on eyewitness accounts naming Harris and Klebold as the killers.
21. Officially: Battan said in April 2000: "I know who killed each and every one of the children, and I have the ballistics to prove it."
Families' contention: Battan knew the bullet that killed Daniel Rohrbough was never recovered, and the only bullet recovered could not be positively identified. Amazingly, now the sheriff's department says that it is "irrelevant" who shot Daniel.
News' findings: The statement attributed to Battan could not be independently verified; however, sheriff's officials said repeatedly that ballistics showed there were no "friendly fire" incidents at Columbine.
Battan's remarks are based on Brian Rohrbough's recollection.
The News wrote on April 20, 2000: "Sheriff's officials consistently have denied that any 'friendly fire' struck the Columbine victims, citing ballistics tests they said showed that every bullet and pellet fired at the victims came from one of the four guns used by the two teen gunmen."
A sheriff's department press release talks of a draft "reference list" regarding "the basic injuries, weapons and shooters of all the deceased victims."
"Whether the names of the killers or the injuries they caused were accidentally switched on this list is irrelevant," the press release said. "There is no question that Daniel Rohrbough was shot and killed by Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold on April 20, 1999."
22. Officially: The department stated that every law enforcement firearm discharged on April 20, 1999, was collected and tested.
Families' contention: At least one gun was not collected for testing until more than a year later.
News' findings: The department did not claim to have collected and tested every gun on April 20, 1999. Officials did test at least one gun more than a year after the tragedy.
The sheriff's final report states that on the day of the shootings, the critical incident team that investigates use of deadly force by police officers "interviewed and collected the firearms of most officers who fired a weapon that day."
Other documents released by the sheriff's department show that some ballistics tests were not completed until May 16, 2000.
23. Officially: The department has steadfastly insisted that no police bullet hit any Columbine victim and this conclusion is beyond the slightest doubt.
Families' contention: Battan told victim Corey DePooter's mother that the bullet found in his backpack was the same bullet that had penetrated his arm. But this bullet was never tested against Harris' or Klebold's weapons. The bullet was tested only against four of the ten police weapons that were fired. The sheriff's department knew this bullet was not fired by Harris or Klebold (perhaps because it is the wrong caliber).
News' findings: Sheriff's officials stated unequivically that no victims were hit by police bullets. However, testing of the bullet found in DePooter's backpack was incomplete.
The sheriff's final report states, "There were no injuries or deaths as a result of shots fired by law enforcement officers." It also notes that 12 officers fired their weapons.
Patricia DePooter said that she was told the bullet that hit her son's arm lodged in a notebook in his backpack. However, she believes it was not Battan, but a victims advocate who gave her the information.
A ballistics report showed that the bullet was tested against only four of the police weapons. This testing was not done until more than a year after the shooting. So there is no way to definitely conclude whose gun fired the bullet.
24. Officially: The department said that Deputy Gardner fired a total of eight shots and that these shots were all directed at Harris when he was near the west doors of the school.
Families' contention: The ballistics evidence positively identifies three of the bullets found in the library as coming from Gardner's weapon. The library windows and the west doors are a considerable distance apart. It is impossible for stray bullets aimed at the west doors to wind up in the library.
News' findings: Gardner's official statement and the final Columbine report contend he fired all eight of his shots at Harris at the west doors. However, three of his bullets were found in the library.
Ballistics and crime scene documents reviewed by the News show that three of Gardner's rounds were fired into the second-floor school library, a contradiction of his official statement.
In Gardner's tape-recorded interview, he said he took "four quick shots" at one of the gunmen just after pulling into the school's parking lot and then took four more after the gunman aimed his rifle out a shattered door frame.
Later, Gardner was asked where his bullets went.
"I'm not sure," he answered. Then, in response to another question, "I mean I was directly aiming at, at the door, the door frame right here . . ."
A short time later, Gardner said, other officers opened fire on the library after seeing Harris through a window.
"I didn't shoot anymore," he said. "They started shooting at the upper window."
25. Officially: The department said that reports of the detonation of pipe bombs by Eric Harris prior to April 20, 1999, could not be substantiated.
Families' contention: The department's own draft search warrant affidavit directly contradicts this statement.
News' findings: The draft search warrant did show that sheriff's investigators were suspicious in 1998 that Harris could have been responsible for a pipe bomb found in a field.
26. Officially: The department maintained the Brown family's report as an "open lead" from its inception in March 1998.
Families' contention: The department's own records listed the report as "closed."
News' findings: Sheriff's officials claimed they never closed the Browns' 1998 report; documents contradict that.
An April 30, 1999, press release from the sheriff's department says: "The Investigators have maintained the (Browns') report as a 'open lead' since it was originally reported."
But a sheriff's department printout included in documents released by the department includes the notation: "Records Status: CLOSED."
The "clearance date" is also listed as March 18, 1998.
The date of the "last change" on the Browns' file, according to the printout, was March 26, 1998.
27. Officially: The department said material released in the open records case "would have been available to the families' attorneys through normal discovery procedures associated with their civil actions."
Families' contention: It is beyond doubt the department was doing everything in its power to prevent the discovery they implied would be available on a routine basis.
News' findings: The families' allegation is supported by an an April 11, 2001, sheriff's department press release. Sheriff's officials did work to get the lawsuits dismissed.
28. Officially: Families were assured that all FBI documents related to the Columbine investigation had been released.
Families' contention: Th FBI has stated there are more than 2,700 pages in its Columbine files. The FBI has previously assured the families that all of their material was provided to the sheriff's department. Yet, the FBI material released to date included nowhere near this number of pages.
News' findings: Documents and statements made by Jefferson County officials substantially support the families' allegations, although the language included in those papers is not exactly the same as that contained in the lawsuit.
In a News story on Sept. 7, 2001, regarding the work of FBI agents at Columbine, sheriff's spokeswoman Jacki Tallman said no other reports from the FBI team exist. She added: "We have released everything that we have related to these teams."
The FBI says there are approximately 2,700 pages in its Columbine file. The response also notes that 450 pages are handwritten notes from FBI agents that are paraphrased in other documents.
There is no index to the approximately 16,500 pages of Columbine documents released by the sheriff's department, and no immediate way to determine the number of FBI documents previously released. FBI officials said they do not know how many of their documents have been relased by the sheriff.
Denver FBI spokeswoman Ann Atanasio said that the FBI has not had any direct communication with the families, but has gone through the Jefferson County sheriff.
29. Officially: The department has steadfastly asserted that even if the March 1998 search warrant had not been quashed, nothing would have been learned that could have prevented the shootings.
Families' contention: Material leaked to the media earlier this month shows that in his writings Harris planned to the very day and hour when and where the attack would take place.
News' findings: The claim about the statements of sheriff's officials could not be independently veriried. However, documents obtained by the News showed that Harris had a detailed plan for the Columbine attack in April 1998 -- a year before the tragedy.
Gee, how long before the LEO-Uber-Alles chorus shows up, and says "Klebold and Harris are ultimately responsible...LEO's have it tough...they shouldn't be held responsible...bla-blah-blah..."
And ultimately it's the citizens that will pay the HUGE $$$ settlement, not the LEO's who did the deeds, and those who helped to cover it up.
Nice work if you can find it...Brown shirts provided by taxpayers.
I believe the fols at Columbine Research Task Force are working on one. Click around the forums to find reports of what've they've found.