Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Appeals Court Orders Internal Affairs Cop Probe Be Produced to TV Station

Colorado Route MarkerImage via WikipediaIn Romero v. City of Fountain et al. (Case No. 11CA0690), the Colorado Court of Appeals this month ordered the Fountain Police Dept. to turn over  to ABC affiliate KRDO-TV a redacted disciplinary investigatory probe of a police officer who subsequently resigned.

As initially reported by the Website of the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press (www.rcfp.org), the appellate court declined former police officer Frank Romero's motion for a preliminary injunction, ruling that a "lengthy delay of the disclosure [of the report] may disserve the public interest." The television station initially sought a summary of the internal affairs inquiry through the Colorado Open Records Act [C.R.S. 24-72-201 to 24-72-309], but the court held the records at issue were covered under the Colorado Criminal Justice Records Act [C.R.S. 24-72-301 et seq.].

The department's investigation recommended terminating Romero, but he resigned instead.  The officer was targeted by several women, who complained about his behavior toward them.  Romero fought the release of the internal affairs document on the grounds that it contained personal information that would irreparably injure him if it were released. The document at issue was redacted to protect the identity of the female complainant.

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