Saturday, December 6, 2014

Cross Posted from Roch101; "Paper tigers"

"From the News & Record's digital editor on the refusal of the Greensboro Police Department to make public video footage captured by officer worn body cameras:

"We'll continue to make the requests,
and to fight for the information any way we can." 

Two points:

First, I have repeatedly asked the City of Greensboro for copies of the News & Record's requests for these videos and the city's denials.

There are none.

The News & Record makes these requests verbally and the city, therefor replies verbally.

This matters because, without a documented record, it is harder for those of us interested in affecting public policy on this matter to participate. Policy makers, the ACLU or other interested groups or individuals do not have at their disposal a record of the requests and denials they could use to document the circumstances and nature of the City's refusals. The News & Record, ironically, is not contributing to the public record of the City's actions.

Roch has an extremely valid point on this.

Second, it is simply untrue that the News & Record is continuing to "fight for the information any way we can." That sounds good and we might wish it were so, but it's empty rhetoric. The most forceful and definitive means by which the N&R could "fight" for this information would be to sue for it. Under North Carolina law, people or entities denied access to what they believe are public records can take it to court.

The News & Record has not done that.

They should if they think these videos are public record, but they haven't; so they are clearly not fighting for the videos any way they can. They are, quite contrary to their claims, confining their efforts to the mildest and least effective means: begging and pleading."