SunSentinel by Rafael Olmenda
July 25, 2018
Hours of surveillance footage captured outside Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School during February’s mass shooting must be released to the public, an appeals court ruled Wednesday.
The Broward School Board had sought to block the release of the footage, arguing that it will expose the blind spots in the surveillance systems in place at the Parkland high school and other campuses throughout the county.
The State Attorney’s Office also objected to the release, calling the records a part of an active criminal investigation.
Media outlets, including the South Florida Sun Sentinel, argued that the video should be released as a public record that may shed light on the law enforcement response to the shooting as it unfolded.
Shooter Nikolas Cruz, a former student at the school, faces the death penalty if convicted of 17 counts of first-degree murder. During his rampage, he also wounded 17 other victims.
“It’s a sad commentary on our times that there must be a full and open public discussion about the type of security system that is appropriate for a large public high school and the appropriate law enforcement response to an active shooter on a high school campus,” Fourth District Court of Appeal Judge Robert Gross wrote in the opinion.
“Parents have such a high stake in the ultimate decisions that they must have access to camera video footage here at issue,” he added, “and not blindly rely on school board experts to make decisions for them.”