Why is the surveillance video being hidden? There seems to be no reason why it can’t be shown, even if it is needed as evidence later in a trial.
Michelle Malkin has some thoughts about that in the New York Post.
In Florida, the Broward County Sheriff’s Office and Broward County school district are fighting to keep exterior surveillance video from the day of the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School hidden from view. As journalists and citizens who’ve waged uphill battles against secrecy well know, government agencies too often invoke broad disclosure exemptions in the name of protecting public safety when they’re really just trying to protect their own jobs.
Feckless Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel and media darling school Superintendent Robert Runcie are defendants in an open-records lawsuit filed Tuesday by the South Florida Sun Sentinel, the Miami Herald and CNN.
Officials claim that they are not required to release the video which, they say, is not covered by laws that require release of such information to the public, referred to as “sunshine” laws. Supposedly (they say) release of the video “would expose the district’s security-system plan; are part of an active criminal investigation; and involve an active internal affairs investigation of school resource officer/BSO Deputy Scot Peterson.”
It seems to me that their security plan isn’t worth much, and will have to be extensively reviewed and changed, since it didn’t “secure” anybody or anything. And as Michelle Malkin points out, they plan to demolish the building anyway.
Since the perpetrator of the shooting is in custody, I fail to see how release of the video would affect the criminal investigation. As pointed out in the NY Post article, key investigative records, transcripts and logs in the active criminal probe against the Parkland school shooter have already been released to the public, and that Sheriff Israel has already publicly described what he saw in the video.
I suspect it is the last item on the list – investigation of Scot Peterson, or rather the actions of the BSO in general, particularly the leadership of said organization.
“If there were shortcomings,” Broward Circuit Court Judge Charles Greene concluded, “the public has the right to know.”
Any right to privacy that the shooter may have claimed was effectively waived by his own bloody actions and outweighed by the public interest.
The Broward County school district is hiding behind the sheriff’s skirt, claiming that since law enforcement took possession of the videos, its hands are tied. But that school property is the public’s property, subject to the state’s public-records act…
Deputy Scot Peterson has already resigned, so the sheriff’s office should not be able to hide behind the confidential personnel-records shield. Peterson publicly disputes Israel’s version of events and released his own detailed account of his actions after his former boss blabbed about the surveillance tape at a backside-saving press conference last week.
There is no good reason to refuse to release the surveillance.
Release the video and let ALL of us see what happened!