|NMU||COLORADO||Freedom of Information||May 25, 2000|
Tapes of police radio transmissions are public records
- A judge has ruled that police radio communications relating to last year’s shooting rampage at Columbine High School are public under the state’s public records law.
Audio tapes of police radio communications made the day of last year’s fatal shootings at Columbine High School in Littleton must be released to the victims’ families and the general public, a state trial court judge ruled in late May.
District Court Judge R. Brooke Jackson in Golden ruled that while the tapes themselves are public records, some of the information they contain, such as the name of an exonerated suspect and the home addresses of the two gunmen, are private and must be deleted from the copies that are to be made available to the public, according to an Associated Press report.
The May 23 ruling was prompted by an open records law suit filed by the families of Dan Rohrbough and Kelly Fleming, two of 12 students killed by Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris April 20, 1999, against the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office. The two gunmen also killed a teacher and wounded more than a dozen other students before killing themselves.
The decision comes weeks after an appeals court ruled that autopsy records of the victims were not public. Copies of surveillance videotapes from the shootings and the sheriff’s office’s own investigation report have already been made public.
(Fleming v. Stone)
© 2000 The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press