Exemptions to state public records laws allow police departments to conceal vast amounts of information and stifle meaningful discussion about police reform and accountability.
According to a Washington Post analysis: All 50 states and the District of Columbia allow police departments to withhold records they consider investigatory. And in 35 states, police misconduct records are exempted from disclosure.
At least 17 states have pending bills that would allow more public access to police records, The Post found.
“When government employees know that what they do . . . will be transparent, then they’re going to do a better job for us. They’re going to spend our money better. And they’re going to act better,” David Cuillier, president of the National Freedom of Information Coalition Board of Directors, told The Post.