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Thursday, July 10, 2014 |  Madison, WI: 56.0° F  Fair
The Daily

CRIME

Brittany Zimmermann and Dane County 911 Center: Clarifications and updates
New information on Isthmus' story about student's 911 call

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Two points regarding Isthmus' original story on the Brittany Zimmermann 911 call case have caused some confusion. Here's some elaboration to clear it up.

Because of the stonewalling from public officials and their failure to release even basic information about the existence of a 911 call for help from Brittany Zimmermann, the pieces of my original story were put together one at a time over the course of a three-week investigation. These pieces came from many interviews and conversations, as well as public arrest logs, Madison police call logs, court records and police reports. Invariably, I was provided with contradictory information that had to be corroborated or discounted.

After reconciling multiple and varying explanations provided by public officials after they could no longer hide behind the veil of secrecy, it seems officials remain contradictory on two points that I reported. (They also remain contradictory on several other points drawn out from other reporters after my story's publication).

First is Kathleen Falk and Joe Norwick's contention that Madison police asked them to conceal the 911 call from the public. My sources believed that the Police Department asked that some specific information, including the time and what was heard on the tape, not be released, but did not ask them to hide the existence of the call. Madison Police Chief Noble Wray subsequently confirmed that police never asked the 911 center to deny the call's existence.

The second point of confusion is exactly what occurred in the call. I reported that sources suggested that the 911 center may have called back a hang-up call and was assured no crisis was occurring. I understandably had contradictory information from sources because the 911 Center provided police with misinformation or insufficient information in the immediate days after the call, and thus police for some time had erroneous information.

The confusion among my sources seemed to be how the call got disconnected, and it's easy to understand the confusion now that authorities have admitted it was a dispatcher, not Brittany, who "hung up" the call, and then did not call back, as 911 Center policy dictates.

The exact truth, of course, remains unclear until authorities come clean with all the facts.

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