Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Catoosa, Claremore sued for police audio, video recordings

A Vinita attorney is asking a Rogers County judge to force Catoosa and Claremore city officials to make public their police departments' audio and video recordings.

Josh D. Lee of Ward & Lee, which specializes in drunken-driving cases, filed the lawsuits on Tuesday.

A hearing before Associate District Judge Sheila A. Condren has been scheduled for June 22.

Lee's co-counsel is Stephen G. Fabian Jr. of Oklahoma City.

Fabian, who also specializes in DUI cases, successfully sued the state Department of Public Safety in 2005 after the Oklahoma Highway Patrol began refusing to release videotapes of traffic arrests.

"We continue to find that many officers make up evidence and exaggerate their testimony about the events. These tapes are extremely important to a citizen who is wrongly accused," Fabian told The Oklahoman at the time.

Fabian had used the Open Records Act to gather hundreds of such videotapes from OHP and police departments.

However, state legislators curtailed public access to DPS's audio and video recordings in May 2005 after an Oklahoma County judge ruled in Fabian's favor against DPS.

Joey Senat, Ph.D.
Associate Professor
OSU School of Media & Strategic Communications

The opinions expressed in this blog are those of the commentators and do not necessarily represent the position of FOI Oklahoma Inc., its staff, or its board of directors. Differing interpretations of open government law and policy are welcome.

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