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State police ordered to release videotape of arrest

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    News Media Update         KENTUCKY         Freedom of Information    

State police ordered to release videotape of arrest

  • A Circuit Court judge in Frankfort, Ky., ruled that a videotape of a driver arrested by state police must be released because the driver, who was sexually assaulted in jail, was not intoxicated at the time of his arrest and therefore not covered by a confidentiality law that applies to drunk drivers.

Jan. 30, 2004 — The Kentucky State Police must disclose a videotape of a Valentine’s Day traffic stop in which a teen was cited for speeding and arrested, a Circuit Court judge in Frankfort ruled last week. The 18-year-old male, charged with failing to promptly pull over, was sexually assaulted by several prisoners while he was jailed.

The Cincinnati Enquirer requested the videotape recorded by the state police in April, under the Kentucky Open Records Law. The state refused, citing a 1984 confidentiality law that prohibits police from releasing recordings of drunk drivers.

The newspaper sued, and on Jan. 22 Judge William Graham ordered the state to release the video because there was no evidence that the teen was driving under the influence. The 18-year-old, whose identity is being protected because of the sexual assault in Grant County jail in Williamstown, pleaded guilty on March 18, 2003, to driving 26 miles per hour over the speed limit.

“Any public document, video or police report should be open for public review,” said Jim Hannah, a reporter who has covered the case for the Enquirer. He added that the tape would determine whether the teen had been uncooperative, and if jailing him overnight was warranted.

In a civil suit, Don Nageleisen, the teen’s attorney, said Deputy Scott Allen told guards the teen had been uncooperative and needed to be taught a lesson. In a Jan. 16 Enquirer article, Nageleisen also said police bucked protocol by placing the high school student with convicted felons in the general jail population, rather than alone in a detox holding cell.

Three prisoners have been convicted of sexually assaulting the teen during his detention. A civil suit, which names Allen, the jail, numerous prisoners and Jailer Steven Kellam, has not yet gone to trial.

(The Cincinnati Enquirer d/b/a The Kentucky Enquirer v. Smith; Media Attorney: Paul Alley, Graydon, Head & Ritchey LLP, Ft. Mitchell, Ky.) AB

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