Frustrated Burlington cop was punched first, video shows

Should Burlington fire cop Corey Campbell? See body cam video before you decide 

By Guy Page

September 11, 2020 – BLM protesters say they won’t leave Burlington’s Battery Park  until three cops accused of police brutality are fired. The City of Burlington is expressing some sympathy and solidarity with the protesters but – so far – hasn’t terminated the cops’ employment. City officials say their hands are tied by union contracts and City Charter limitations. 

Are the three cops guilty? It’s hard for interested Burlingtonians and other Vermonters to know, because we weren’t there.

Or were we?

Thanks to modern bodycam technology, anyone with an Internet connection can watch the March 11 2019 Douglas Kilburn/Corey Campbell incident happen online. We see and hear the middle-aged, obese Kilburn, sitting in his car outside the UVM Medical Center, loudly demanding to enter the hospital. He wants to see his wife in the ER but has been kicked out of the ER waiting room for loud behavior. We see the fit, young officer Campbell talk calmly with Kilburn and offer to walk him into the hospital if he calms down. We see Campbell walk him into the ER to his wife’s room. They shake hands. Kilburn is appreciative of the officer he calls “my escort.” 

The next scene, Kilburn is outside again, sitting in his car. He was forced to leave the hospital – again. He’s frustrated, again. So is Campbell. Kilburn continues to argue with a hospital employee. At 4:17 minutes into the six-minute video, Campbell tells Kilburn “shut the **** up and leave, go, they don’t want you here.” Kilburn calls Campbell a punk, gets out of the car, and initiates the violence by punching Campbell first. Campbell punches back and Kilburn is soon on the ground and cuffed, complaining of broken ribs.  

Kilburn was hospitalized briefly and found dead a few days later. His death was ruled a homicide, the medical examiner saying he wouldn’t have died without the injuries incurred. Vermont Attorney General TJ Donovan cleared Campbell of legal responsibility for Kilburn’s death but disciplined him for his use of language, saying it led him to the necessity of having to defend himself. 

The Vermont BLM contingent has already made up its mind about Campbell. He’s a pawn in their political strategy. He’s being portrayed as a proof of their worldview that ACAB. The City of Burlington says its hands are tied. Neither faction is publicly explaining why the events of March 19 merit the firing of a police officer. 

Putney Town Manager publicly recants “All Lives Matter” post – The Putney Town Manager publicly apologized for reposting a Facebook meme that reportedly showed a photo of a white girl killed by a black man with the caption, “All Lives Matter, All Lives Matter, All Lives Matter.”

The Windham County town is home to several “progressive” schools and colleges. It is considered one of the most politically liberal towns in Vermont. 

According to a September 11 story by Susan Smallheer in the Brattleboro Reformer, “Town Manager Karen Astley, who reposted an “All Lives Matter” meme on her personal social media account recently, again apologized for her actions during the regular Wednesday evening Select Board meeting. With close to four dozen Putney residents and others listening in to the online meeting, Astley said she was educating herself on racism, and was reaching out to the Putney community to line up training for town staff, as well as for herself. Astley said she was reading “White Fragility,” one of the books recommended by the Putney reading club that is tackling racism.”

Putney Town Manager Karen Astley apologizes at second consecutive meeting (at 52 minute mark) for her “All Lives Matter” personal Facebook post.

Astley’s situation parallels Windsor School Principal Tiffany Riley’s dismissal over a personal Facebook post questioning the direction of Black Lives Matter. While Astley still has her job, the former selectboard chair Laura Chapman resigned after an NAACP spokesperson complained that people of color might not feel welcome in Putney.

Where were you when the Towers fell? Phil Scott remembers – “Nineteen years ago, this morning, I was at work when a report came over the radio that a plane had hit one of the Twin Towers in New York,” Gov. Phil Scott said in a statement today. “I stopped what I was doing and turned on the television. I watched as another plane flew into the second tower and it soon became clear that our nation was under attack. I watched as we learned a third plane had hit the Pentagon and then a fourth went down in rural Pennsylvania. And I watched as the towers came down and sat in disbelief seeing the images of smoke rising from New York City. We all watched, in real time, as the world was changed forever. 

“Like every American who lived through September 11, 2001, I remember everything about that day: The shock of what was unfolding right before our eyes. The pain we felt for those we lost, those who were missing and those they left behind. The bravery of first responders who ran into the wreckage, and the valor of servicemembers who stood up to protect us from future attacks. And, today, as we remember and honor those we lost, that grief remains in our hearts. As we now face a once in a century crisis that has taken the lives of almost 200,000 Americans, it is also important to remember the determination and resolve we found in the days, weeks and months following September 11.”

Photo: Douglas Kilburn winds up to throw the first punch in the altercation with Burlington Police Officer Corey Campbell in March, 2019. Still from YouTube video of Burlington Police Officer Corey Campbell’s body camera.

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Categories: Crime

1 reply »

  1. Based on the video, Officer Cambell was extraordinarily helpful and considerate to Mr Kilburn going out of his way and beyond the call of duty to help him see his wife in the hospital. He showed restraint and great patience in the interaction. Kilburn, however, was not an easy guy to deal with. Under the circumstances you would think Kilburn would make sure to give Officer Campbell no trouble at all after being escorted into the hospital bypassing all usual formalities.

    Instead, Kilburn physically assaults the officer, punching him in the face. If there is something to learn here it might be that Kilburn was not acting normally and perhaps should have been treated as an EDP. Hospital security needed BPD help, so the problem was beyond normal societal boundaries. I imagine Kilburn has some psychiatric history.

    Vermont sorely needs its state hospital system restored so beds are available for those who need psychiatric inpatient care and not prison. Police and ERs feel their hands are tied without proper psych in-patient availability when needed. That creates a log jamb or, knowing there’s no good options, police get used to “doing without”. Frustrating and leads too often to bad outcomes.