NFOIC joins amicus brief supporting release of police internal affairs records in New Jersey

The National Freedom of Information Coalition and 23 other organizations joined a Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press amicus brief supporting the release of police internal affairs records in New Jersey.

In July 2019, a retired New Jersey police officer submitted a New Jersey Open Public Records Act request seeking access to police internal affairs records, related to an investigation into workplace misconduct of the former director of the police department. The prosecutor’s office denied the request, and the police officer sued for access. The trial court held the records were available, but an appeals court reversed.

The brief argues the New Jersey Supreme Court should reverse the appellate court’s decision and make the records available.

“Access to the [internal affairs] records at issue will enable journalists to report important information about behavior of government officials and the processes employed to investigate patterns of misconduct that threaten to erode public trust in government institutions,” the brief reads. “Such reporting fosters accountability of public servants by deterring instances of misconduct and, when misconduct does occur, by ensuring that it is adequately responded to by agencies.”