It will be interesting to see whether the Spokesman Review will appeal Judge Plese’s ruling. As for me I don’t have a problem with redacting the names of the victims, however I don’t feel withholding the names of witnesses is appropriate, unless there is clearly a reason.
The Bainbridge Island and Sargent cases are often cited in exemption logs in response to Public Records Requests and are both Cop cases. The Bainbridge Island Case basically boils down to the NAMES, and IDENTIFIERS of Cops in unfounded or exonerated Internal Affairs cases can not be released to the public, however the entire case must be released with the Cops name redacted. The Sargent case put the Kibosh to the preciously often used “effective law enforcement exemption” of withholding documents from the Public, in other words once a case goes to the Prosecutor it is Public information unless law enforcement can clearly demonstrate the need to withhold it. I am not familiar with any cases since Sargent that have been brought by law enforcement claiming the need to withhold information cased upon the effective law enforcement exemption.
What is interesting about the SR Story is that there is NO mention that Pitcher himself was provided the opportunity to fight the release out in Court along with the victims. Although providing the opportunity for the target of the investigation to object in Superior Court is very, very rare it is a right the target has under the PRA, as do the victims and witnesses. When you see a government, agency contacting a terminated Public Employee and providing them the opportunity to object to Public Disclosure, flags immediately go up, and one can’t help but wonder if the IA Case will demonstrate ineptness on the part of the agency administration. SPD and SCSO Cops aren’t afforded that opportunity no matter how “the sensitive nature of the compiled records” might be. That could change however given the precedent the City of Spokane has set in the case of Ozzie Knezovich’s friend and former member of Ozzie’s Citizens Advisory Board.
Yes, it is true I submitted my Public Records Request regarding Robert West back October 25th, 2017 and 6 months later I still haven’t received responsive records, when there is delay after delay you gotta know there is something the City doesn’t want to Public to know.
To be clear, the delay is NOT the fault of the City Clerk’s staff, it is the fault of the Mayor and City Legal, who we will eventually find have reason to not want the records public (Yes, I know!).
As is often the case once I break a story the SR jumps on by submitting their own PRRs, so it will be interesting if they will take the same position they did with Pitcher.
Another interesting PRR submitted regarding West was this one!
The question is how much info Ms. Muramatsu the SPD Lawyer gave Ozzie outside of the PRR process??
Another question still to be answered publicly is exactly what were those “outside forces”? 😊