Thursday, February 14, 2008

Utah bill would allow Police misconduct to be hidden from public

"A new bill proposed at the legislature would allow for police to withhold misconduct reports from the public. Supporters of the bill believe that police misconduct should be kept secret from the public so to not discredit police testimony. Others say that a forthright police unit is essential to the community.

In September, Jared Massey was zapped with a taser by Trooper John Gardner. A video of the incident was recorded from Gardner’s patrol car. Gardner can be seen shocking Massey until he hits the ground while Massey’s wife screams from the side of their SUV.

More than a million people watched the video on “YouTube.” Massey was shocked to see his new found fame. The footage may have never been seen had Massey not made a records request to obtain the tape.

Currently, misconduct reports are available in Utah with an official records request. Under the bill SB260, sponsored by Senator Chris Buttars, the video and investigation report from Massey’s tazering might have been kept secret from the public and journalists."

I'll be honest, I think this is ridiculous. I support law enforcement, but I also know that police can make mistakes, obviously. If information is kept from the public and the press, internal change isn't going to happen, certainly not as easily.

Anyway, it's been a long week, and I'm not sure if that made any sense. :P What are your opinions?

"Congress shall make no law ... restricting the freedom ... of the press."