Tallahassee Democrat by Jeff Burlew
June 11, 2020
News media organizations, including the Tallahassee Democrat, have moved to intervene in a court fight between the city and the Florida PBA over release of the name of the officer who shot and killed a stabbing suspect.
The motion, filed Wednesday in Leon Circuit Court, seeks to block efforts by the Police Benevolent Association to shield the officer’s name from release.
The PBA filed a lawsuit June 1 against the city, asking a judge to issue an order preventing the city from releasing the officer’s name. The PBA argued his name is exempt under Marsy’s Law, a constitutional amendment passed in 2018 allowing crime victims to keep their names confidential.
But the media outlets and organizations disagreed. In their filing, they wrote that as history and recent events demonstrate, records involving the use of deadly force are of “crucial public importance.”
The news media file this motion to intervene to oppose such anticipated relief because — in order to hold law enforcement accountable to the people — the identities of those police officers involved in on-duty shootings must not be kept secret,” the filing said.
The motion was filed by the First Amendment Foundation, the Florida Press Association, Gannett, whose properties include the Democrat and USA Today, the Miami Herald Media Company and the New York Times Company.