June 3, 2013

Release the Sandy Hook papers NOW

It now appears the state police won’t release records related to the Sandy Hook School massacre until perhaps September.
There’s no reason for the delay.
Connecticut’s Freedom of Information law allows law enforcement to keep records secret if they needed for an active police investigation.
That may make sense, at least in some cases.
But there is no active investigation of Sandy Hook anymore. There is no suspect on the lam. There is nobody sitting in jail waiting for trial. By all accounts, there is nobody, anywhere who is eyed by police as a possible accomplice.
There is no active investigation. At best, there is an active effort to write a report.
The law says the records can be held secret if they “were compiled in connection with the detection or investigation of crime, if the disclosure of said records would not be in the public interest because it would result in the disclosure” of a confidential informant, a witness who could be endangered, investigative techniques not known to the public or information that would be prejudicial for a potential law enforcement action.
Not one of those exemptions applies in this case.
I can understand why information was kept under wraps during those first difficult days and weeks, when the anguish was raw and the case still not completely clear. But we all know the basics of what happened now. We know who did it. We know how he did it. And we will probably never really comprehend why he did it.
The state has no reason to hide information we paid to collect from us. It needs to lay out what it has gathered and let the public makes it own decisions about what it all means.
Yes, produce a report. Try to make it sound something like English, too, for a change.
But let’s not pretend there is an active investigation going on. This is not what the law was meant to protect. We don’t live in a police state. I’d like to think we live in a state that trusts its citizens and prefers to let the sunlight shine.
Open the books already.

Copyright 2013 All rights reserved. Contact Steve Collins at scollins@bristolpress.com

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