Cinncinnati.com by Jack Greiner
March 21, 2018
A state court in Florida recently ruled that exterior surveillance footage from the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, must be disclosed to the public. Several media outlets, including CNN and the Miami Herald, had requested the footage and went to court to force its disclosure when the Broward County Sheriff and the School Board tried to block its release.
As the court noted, the footage, collected and maintained by a public high school, is unquestionably a public record. The only issue for the court was whether any exemptions applied which would allow the Sheriff and/or the school to withhold the footage from the public.
The Sheriff and school claimed that several exemptions applied, but the court was unimpressed.
The first asserted exemption was the “active criminal investigative information exemption.” As its name suggests, this exemption shields records compiled in the course of an ongoing criminal investigation. And certainly, the shooting was a criminal act, which is being investigated. But as the court noted, the purpose for the exemption is to prevent premature disclosure that could impede an investigation or allow a suspect to avoid apprehension or detection. [READ MORE]