News Leaders Association honors First Amendment Award winners for advancing Freedom of Information principles

Journalists uncovered decades of New York police disciplinary records, detailed a university’s handling of sexual misconduct claims, and investigated deaths inside detention facilities. Their efforts have been recognized by the News Leaders Association, which announced its 2021 First Amendment Award recipients on May 12, 2021. The awards recognize “the best journalism advancing Freedom of Information…

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California coalition sues sheriff’s office for repeatedly failing to provide misconduct, use-of-force information

The California-based First Amendment Coalition has sued the Ventura County Sheriff’s Office for failing to provide information about deputy misconduct and use of force. The sheriff’s office responded to records requests with unjustified delays and denials, according to the lawsuit. “Unfortunately, the public has largely been left in the dark about the Ventura County Sheriff’s…

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Editorial: Public has a right to see criminal records

Like every other human behavior, crime has consequences, and not only for victims and their families. Perpetrators eventually find out that a criminal record can be a major impediment to getting a job, housing or educational benefits. Efforts currently underway in the General Assembly to automatically expunge certain criminal records in Virginia are an attempt…

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Police data belongs to the people

rompted by the recent police killings of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor, protesters are demanding a wide range of changes to policing, including abolition, shifting funds to other community services, and tactical reforms. A common thread across these demands is that American policing must be held accountable to the communities it serves. Accountability, however, requires…

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New York passes bill to unveil police discipline records

New York state lawmakers repealed a decades-old law Tuesday that has kept law enforcement officers’ disciplinary records secret, spurred by the national uproar over the death of George Floyd. The measure to make officers’ records and misconduct complaints public is among several police accountability bills racing through the state legislature. Lawmakers passed other bills that…

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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…

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Massachusetts police abuse exemption in public-records law, reform panel is told

A number of exemptions allow public agencies to keep secret routine documents that are easily accessible in most other states. Now, for the first time in more than four decades, Massachusetts lawmakers are in the midst of revamping the state’s weak public records law. As part of the overhaul, a state working group has been charged with reviewing and evaluating the way in which law enforcement agencies have used public records exemptions and will recommend changes to the Legislature by year’s end.

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Judge denies MLive FOIA request for Grand Rapids police phone calls

A judge has rejected MLive's request that the city of Grand Rapids release recorded phones calls of police investigating a former Kent County prosecutor's crash.

MLive and the Grand Rapids Press sought recordings of five telephone calls on a phone designated non-recorded.

The calls involved fired Lt. Matt Janiskee talking to an officer, Adam Ickes, who described former prosecutor Josh Kuiper as "hammered," and to Sgt. Thomas Warwick, who drove Kuiper home after the Nov. 19 crash.

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