Tallahassee Democrat by Karl Etters
June 5, 2020
After a full week of protests in Tallahassee pushing for more information, and pushback from the police department and its union, city officials signaled they will be releasing the name of the officer who shot and killed Tony McDade.
The city determined the Tallahassee Police Department officer was not exempt under the victim’s rights state constitutional amendment known as Marsy’s Law and it will be responding to records request for information, including releasing his name on Monday, City Attorney Cassandra Jackson said in a statement.
“After consultation with the City Manager, the city advised the (police union) that it was the city’s position that Marsy’s Law did not apply to prevent disclosure,” she wrote. “Thus, unless there is another public records exemption under Florida law that applies, the requested record will be released.”
The move to release the name is at odds with the local state attorney, who maintains Marsy’s Law should apply to officers.
The Tallahassee Democrat has asked for personnel files of all three officers involved in shootings in the past three months and has requested body camera video from McDade’s shooting. The police department’s public records custodians have acknowledged the request but have not provided a response.
The investigation into the May 27 fatal shooting of McDade, a transgender black man, continues. He was a suspect in a fatal stabbing.
The move to release the officer’s name comes the day after the Florida Police Benevolent Association fought in a Tallahassee courtroom to withhold it, saying the officer — as the victim of a crime — was shielded by Marsy’s Law.
The PBA has asked for an opportunity to file documents with the court to attempt to prevent the name of the officer from being disclosed, Jackson wrote, adding that the city was planning to release information unless another public records exemption could be cited.