Arizona: Maricopa County attorney seeks to usurp police control of records, video

A letter from Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery to the region’s police departments spells out, apparently for the first time, a system that puts the prosecutor’s office in control of whether police records are released to the public or withheld.

It warns of financial consequences for police departments that don’t comply. 

The letter, obtained by The Arizona Republic, makes no direct mention that long-standing Arizona law and court rulings hold police records to be presumed public.

It lists reasons Montgomery believes such records might need to be withheld. It spells out a process to limit release of video evidence only for law-enforcement purposes, and describes how prosecutors will pursue protective orders from judges to help keep records private. Read more…