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Police misconduct files should be public, Hawaii judge says

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  1. Freedom of Information
A judge in Hawaii has ordered the Honolulu Police Department to release officer disciplinary records under the state's public records…

A judge in Hawaii has ordered the Honolulu Police Department to release officer disciplinary records under the state's public records act.

Civil Beat, a nonprofit news website, requested 12 officers' disciplinary records after publishing an investigative series on secrecy surrounding police misconduct.

Hawaii's police union intervened in the case to argue officers had a privacy interest in protecting their records from disclosure. Hawaii's public records law has an exemption for police disciplinary records when the misconduct does not result in the officer being fired.

Circuit Court Judge Karl Sakamoto held on Monday that ultimately, there is no right to privacy concerning misconduct.

"Opening up the government processes to public scrutiny and participation is the only viable and reasonable method of protecting the public’s interest," he said.