National Freedom of Information Coalition
Protecting Your Right to Open Government

SC: Public outcry for transparency in police shooting investigations clashes with public records rules

In the wake of recent police shootings, the public outcry for transparency has come head to head with law enforcement agencies’ interpretation of freedom of information laws.

The statutes outline the public’s right to records produced by government agencies but also include exemptions for law enforcement records. Those are meant for such situations as protecting the identity of a confidential informant or keeping investigative techniques hidden from criminals.

When incorrectly used, however, the exemptions can result in records being kept out of the public eye.