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Friend Shot Dead by Police

Justice for Woody

Fatal Police Shooting Shocks Church

Was Woody Assasinated?

This issue was originally posted on
December 21, 2001 - and updated!

1) Robert "Woody" Woodward ~ Fatal Police Shooting
2) 2001 to be second hottest year since records began: UN
3) Does the president have the authority to can the ABM?

Editor's Notes:

For the past few weeks, my work for sustainable energy development and family-related health matters, brought me to southern California. One of the highlights of this trip was in spending real time with Carol Rosin and Jon Cypher at their home and offices for the Institute for Cooperation in Space in Ventura, CA. I met them after a solo walk by the ocean where I watched three pilot whales weave in the Pacific only about 30 yards from shore. Nature reigns in such beauty.

Though funding for the sustainable energy work was missing, it was a good trip, especially to help my mom her during a time when she needed me. And on the airplane on the ride home, after nine months of slowly reading, absorbing, feeling, the revelations in the biography of Crazy Horse: Strange Man of the Oglalas, written in the 1930's by Mari Sandoz.

Shaken a bit, which I didn't realize how little, until on the way at Whole Foods market, I learned what happened to my friend, Woody, just before I departed my journey. on December 2nd, 2001, my friend, Robert "Woody" Woodward, was shot dead by police while seeking political asylum in a Church in Brattleboro, Vermont!

I couldn't help feel but some connection with Woody; and his connection with Crazy Horse, who when arrested and betrayed, struggled with a knife and slain dead.

I attended the memorial service, with a candlelight vigil through town, Brattleboro, Vermont, on December 19 2001. The assembly of friends and community that came to that service demonstrated that Woody was not a dangerous person, and people grieved at their loss of a dear friend and family loved one. But will the truth be revealed, what really happened?

Why would the police, after only one minute, open fire, shooting him
seven times, handcuff him, and deny him immediate medical assistance?

I had an opportunity to address those at the memorial service. I encouraged anyone who could disclose truth on this case to step forward, to take the advice from Daniel Sheehan, legal counsel for the Pentagon Papers, the Iran-Contra, Three Mile Island, and Karen Silkwood cases: to go public as the best strategy and defense to stand up against injustice. I shared these thoughts, and the following poem to a light beyond darkness.


The unknown journey tells us of lives past,
What's behind the sky and how long we can last.

Blight and perish, then return Creation to your chore never ending,
Though it appears dim sometimes because the tunnel winds,
But beyond the next bend the illumined mind might find a permeating ray.

O' divine mystery, naked before my thoughts,
Such grandeur and majesty, am I truly worthy?

Embracing life, colors blend, light filters through,
I am what I am.
The only death that came to be was to that of mystery,
As life has a way of renewing and cleansing,
And with the purpose of growth, the spirit will always be unending.

1) Fatal Police Shooting Shocks Church - Was Woody Assasinated?

- - Updated Archive Links at end of article!

Fatal Police Shooting Shocks Church
By DAVID GRAM, Associated Press Writer
December 5, 2001

BRATTLEBORO, Vt. (AP) - He went before the congregation just as the service was to begin. Weeping, he asked for help, for "political sanctuary."

But All Souls Unitarian Universalist Church - which has long welcomed the downtrodden and the mentally ill - couldn't offer sanctuary to Robert A. Woodward on Sunday.

Gently asked to take a seat or leave, Woodward pulled a knife. Police were called. After making what authorities called threatening moves with the blade, he was gunned down at the altar and died at a hospital.

The police shooting in a church known for its peace activism left the congregation in shock. And it left many of the roughly 10,000 residents of a community known for its left-leaning politics, where a faded "Question Authority" bumper sticker is not an uncommon sight, doing just that. People wanted to know why the officers fired seven shots with their semiautomatic pistols rather than just one, or why they didn't subdue Woodward with the pepper spray they carry, or just tackle him.

"It appears as though there will have to be a high burden on those who pulled the trigger to show that there were no other means to deal with this situation," said Benson D. Scotch, director of the Vermont office of the American Civil Liberties Union.

State authorities are investigating the shooting to determine whether it was justified.

It remained a mystery why the 37-year-old man would drive 25 miles from his apartment in Bellows Falls to seek help in a church hidden from the road on a pine-topped knoll - a church where he was a complete stranger.

Woodward's mother, Joanne Woodward of Bozrah, Conn., told the Brattleboro Reformer that her son had no history of mental problems. And investigators said it appeared he did not have a criminal record.

Woodward, who was single and had no children, worked most recently with foster children at a community mental health organization in Vermont, his mother said.

"I would just like to stress for you that he was a very peaceful person," she said. "He never would have injured anyone else. He was a loving, caring person and very gentle."

The West Village Meeting House, a 1970s chalet-style building with brown-stained shingles, is home to both the Unitarian Universalist church and to a Jewish congregation.

Investigators said it was clear when Woodward went into the church that he wanted to be heard. The chief source of the agitation that led to Woodward's shooting appeared to be that members of the congregation were getting up to leave.

Woodward handed out blank checks with statements written on the backs of them, State's Attorney Dan Davis said. Davis would not reveal their contents.

As Woodward grew more agitated, someone announced it was time for Sunday school, and the 15 children among the roughly 70 people in the church were escorted out to the parking lot. A congregation member used a cell phone to call police.

A church member began talking with Woodward and placed some cellular phone calls for him. Woodward put his knife away. But when someone suggested that the 15 or 20 members of the congregation who remained leave, Woodward grew angry and pulled out his knife again. Davis said it was a folding knife, with a blade 4 to 5 inches long.

"There was a movement with the knife itself and movements made by Mr. Woodward that the officers perceived as a threat to themselves and-or the congregation," Davis said on Monday.

Two officers opened fire; a third officer did not shoot.

Norman Hunt, an 85-year-old member of the congregation, said that Woodward did not verbally threaten anyone other than himself.

"He did tell us he was afraid of the police and afraid if they caught him they'd kill him," Hunt said. "He held a small pocketknife and held it against his right eye and said that rather than being captured he'd kill himself."

For another posting of this article and others, see:
Woodward shouted about "political assassinations" and "global warming"

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From the website --- "Justice for Woody"

Was Woody Assasinated?

Woody seemed to think so. On the voicemail message from the call that Woody placed to his close friends one can hear
Woody's voice saying "Political assassination, political assassination, political assassination ... global warming," repeatedly, and "I love you, I love you: help, help, help me, help me" between moans in which one can hear immense agony.

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Flyby News Archives Updated Links:

August 14, 2006 - Item 2
Justice for Woody?

This above issue includes an article on Robert Woodward's family settlement to drop the case of my friend, Woody, who was shot dead less than 2 months following 9/11/01, while seeking political asylum in a Church one minute after police entered the Church and riddled him with seven bullets and denied emergency medical attention.

September 1, 2005 - Item 2
Justice for Woody and family within a year?

August 27, 2005 - Item 3
Justice for Woody Remains Open

August 19, 2005 - Item 5
Robert Woodward's family seeks justice

May 10, 2004 - Item 3
Woody Case Hearing Report

May 1, 2004 - Item 3
Dangerous Time for Justice in "Woody" Police-Shooting Case

December 8, 2003 - Item 4
Woodward Shooting: Evidence of a Dean Conspiracy?

November 28, 2003 - Item 4
Commemoration of the second anniversary of the death of Robert "Woody" Woodward to be held on December 2, 2003

One-Year Anniversary Since the Shooting -- December 2, 2002 - Item 1
Justice eyes Woodward FBI probe

March 20, 2002 - Item 3
The sound of silence
Article by Kathryn Casa, Managing Editor of the Brattleboro Reformer (March 13, 2002)

February 3, 2002 - Item 4
Family Pursues Quest for Truth in Woodward Shooting
Press Release and link for the legal motion

December 29, 2001 - Item 3
Deadly Silence, Questions Remain about Church Shooting of Woody
Why are the policemen who shot Woody still on duty?

Robert "Woody" Woodward was gunned down by Police Officers on December 2, 2001
in the All Soul's Unitarian Church in Brattleboro, Vermont, while requesting political asylum.

Woody committed no crime, yet he was shot seven times, and medical care, which might have saved Woody's life, was delayed. For the second anniversary of the tragic events, a group of friends of Woody and concerned citizens conducted a Silent March to call for the end of excessive use of police force, support truth, justice, and accountability for such actions, and most of all, the event will pay tribute to Woody's life of compassion and social caring. At a press conference after the vigil, a spokesperson for the Justice for Woody organaization released a report that concluded: "..By refusing to pursue the evidence they possessed that Woodward was shot while down and then denied first aid, and instead putting forth a fraudulent homicide investigation, Governor Dean and William Sorrell conspired to obstruct the lawful application of justice in the matter of the police shooting of Robert Woodward."

For more information visit the web site:

2) 2001 to be second hottest year since records began: UN

GENEVA (AFP) Dec 18, 2001

The average temperature of the world's surface will have been higher in 2001 than in any other year except 1988, the UN's World Meteorological Organization (WMO) said Tuesday, quoting provisional estimates based on data spanning a century and a half.

WMO Deputy Director-General Michel Jarraud said he believed the high average temperature, which was expected to be 0.42 of a degree Celsiusof a degree Fahrenheit) above the world average for the 30 years from 1961 to 1990, was due to so-called "global warming."

He added that the last decade of the 20th century, including the year 2000, had seen nine of the 10 hottest years, in terms of world averages, since reliable records began back in 1860.

During the whole of the 20th century, average world temperatures rose by 0.6 of a degree Celsius (1.08 of a degree Fahrenheit), with much of the rise concentrated in the last quarter century after 1976.

Jarraud said final figures for 2001 would be released next year.

Many scientists believe the earth is gradually heating up due to the industrial activities of man, mainly the production of vast quantities of carbon dioxide from the burning of fossil fuels.

They believe the carbon dioxide leads to the creation of a heat trap, which prevents excess energy from escaping from the atmosphere, thereby heating up the globe. The phenomenon has been dubbed "global warming."

All rights reserved. 2000 Agence France-Presse.

For the originally posted story, with photos and links, see

3) Does the president have the authority to can the ABM?

August 29, 2001- NY TIMES op-ed
By BRUCE ACKERMAN- professor of constitutional law at Yale

NEW HAVEN -- President Bush has told the Russians that he will withdraw from the Antiballistic Missile Treaty, which gives both countries the right to terminate on six months' notice. But does the president have the constitutional authority to exercise this power without first obtaining Congressional consent?

Presidents don't have the power to enter into treaties unilaterally. This requires the consent of two-thirds of the Senate, and once a treaty enters into force, the Constitution makes it part of the "supreme law of the land" just like a statute.

Presidents can't terminate statutes they don't like. They must persuade both houses of Congress to join in a repeal. Should the termination of treaties operate any differently?

The question first came up in 1798. As war intensified in Europe, America found itself in an entangling alliance with the French under treaties made during our own revolution. But President John Adams did not terminate these treaties unilaterally. He signed an act of Congress to "Declare the Treaties Heretofore Concluded with France No Longer Obligatory on the United States."

The next case was in 1846. As the country struggled to define its northern boundary with Canada, President James Polk specifically asked Congress for authority to withdraw from the Oregon Territory Treaty with Great Britain, and Congress obliged with a joint resolution. Cooperation of the legislative and executive branches remained the norm, despite some exceptions, during the next 125 years.

The big change occurred in 1978, when Jimmy Carter unilaterally terminated our mutual defense treaty with Taiwan. Senator Barry Goldwater responded with a lawsuit, asking the Supreme Court to maintain the traditional system of checks and balances. The court declined to make a decision on the merits of the case. In an opinion by Justice William Rehnquist, four justices called the issue a political question inappropriate for judicial resolution. Two others refused to go this far but joined the majority for other reasons. So by a vote of 6 to 3, the court dismissed the case.

Seven new justices have since joined the court, and there is no predicting how a new case would turn out. Only one thing is clear. In dismissing Senator Goldwater's complaint, the court did not endorse the doctrine of presidential unilateralism. Justice Rehnquist expressly left the matter for resolution "by the executive and legislative branches." The ball is now in Congress's court. How should it respond?

First and foremost, by recognizing the seriousness of this matter. If President Bush is allowed to terminate the ABM treaty, what is to stop future presidents from unilaterally taking America out of NATO or the United Nations?

The question is not whether such steps are wise, but how democratically they should be taken. America does not enter into treaties lightly. They are solemn commitments made after wide-ranging democratic debate. Unilateral action by the president does not measure up to this standard. Unilateralism might have seemed more plausible during the cold war. The popular imagination was full of apocalyptic scenarios under which the nation's fate hinged on emergency action by the president alone. These decisions did not typically involve the termination of treaties. But with the president's finger poised on the nuclear button, it might have seemed unrealistic for constitutional scholars to insist on a fundamental difference between the executive power to implement our foreign policy commitments and the power to terminate them.

The world now looks very different. America's adversaries may inveigh against its hegemony, but for America's friends, the crucial question is how this country will exercise its dominance. Will its power be wielded by a single man unchecked by the nation's international obligations or the control of Congress? Or will that power be exercised under the democratic rule of law?

Barry Goldwater's warning is even more relevant today than 20 years ago. The question is whether Republicans will heed his warning against "a dangerous precedent for executive usurpation of Congress's historically and constitutionally based powers." Several leading senators signed this statement that appeared in Senator Goldwater's brief including Orrin Hatch, Jesse Helms and Strom Thurmond, who are still serving. They should defend Congress's power today, as they did in the Carter era.

If they join with Democrats in raising the constitutional issue, they will help establish a precedent that will endure long after the ABM treaty is forgotten. Congress should proceed with a joint resolution declaring that Mr. Bush cannot terminate treaty obligations on his own. And if the president proceeds unilaterally, Congress should take further steps to defend its role in foreign policy.

We need not suppose that the president will respond by embarking on a collision course with Congress. His father, for example, took a different approach to constitutionally sensitive issues. When members of Congress went to court to challenge the constitutionality of the Persian Gulf war, President George H. W. Bush did not proceed unilaterally. To his great credit, he requested and received support from both houses of Congress before making war against Saddam Hussein. This decision stands as one precedent for the democratic control of foreign policy in the post-cold war era. We are now in the process of creating another.

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