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Florida Officials and Media Fight Over Parkland Shooting Footage

The media sues for video that may show what Broward County Sheriff's deputies were doing during the massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.

Daniel Varela/TNS/NewscomThe press wants access to footage that might show what Broward County sheriff's deputies were doing during the massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School earlier this year. Broward County officials would rather not give it to them. After a judge ruled in the media's favor, the school board and the state attorney appealed the ruling. Yesterday the Fourth District Court of Appeal in West Palm Beach, Florida, heard oral arguments in the case.

The battle began when the sheriff confirmed that the school's resource officer, Scot Peterson, did not go inside of the school to confront the shooter. (Peterson eventually resigned from the department with a $8,702.35-a-month lifetime pension.) Then members of the Coral Springs Police Department claimed to CNN that three more sheriff's deputies remained outside the school and hidden behind their vehicles when they arrived on the scene. It was not clear whether the shooter was in fact still in the building when the officers arrived, but the Coral Springs cops were upset either way that the deputies did not join them inside the school.

Hoping to explain the deputies' behavior, several media organizations sued for the exterior footage. Officials resisted the request, claiming that releasing the footage could facilitate future attacks by revealing blind spots in the school's surveillance system.

Attorney Dana McElroy, representing the plaintiffs, points out that Broward Superintendent Robert Runcie has promised to improve school surveillance. So even if someone somewhere really is plotting a second attack, whatever info he might glean from the video would be outdated.

"The footage is the only objective evidence of what occurred and when," Barbara Petersen of the First Amendment Foundation, which has joined the media side of the lawsuit, tells the Miami Herald. "The whole purpose of our open government laws is oversight and accountability. Access to the video footage allows us to hold those accountable who may not have done their jobs."

Though the sheriff's office fought the initial lawsuit, it did not join the school board and the state attorney in the appeal. Spokesperson Veda Coleman-Wright has said the office has no objection to publicizing the footage.

Photo Credit: Daniel Varela/TNS/Newscom

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  • Echo Chamber||

    Maybe they should just ask the donut shop for the footage rather than trying to go through a third party for it.

    What's Reason's personal best for the most number of articles on a single theme in a day?
    This spree of cop articles today must make it into the top 10

  • Don't look at me.||

    Moar butt sex stories needed!

  • Vernon Depner||

    Butt sex with cops!

  • KWlib||

    Cops having butt sex with donuts.

  • The Last American Hero||

    Apparently you weren't around in November 2016.

  • Trollificus||

    "Moar Immigration" articles, with 11 in one day. 10 of them by that Dalmatian chick.

  • Longtobefree||

    Sooner or later, the legislature has got to declare body camera footage public records.

  • Hugh Akston||

    Yep, as soon as they no longer need the support of police unions during election season.

  • Vernon Depner||

    In the region where I live, there's a trend among small towns to eliminate their police departments. They're seen as more expensive than they're worth. If this trend grows, that could lessen police political influence, at least in flyover land.

  • Hugh Akston||

    That happens in LA too. There are a number of municipalities that contract out to nearby cities or the county sheriffs rather than incorporate their own departments.

    There are some concerns there about the lack of local accountability, but local accountability doesn't seem to have much effect on cops as it is, so whatever.

  • Pro Libertate||

    Why not a nongovernmental brute squad? Paid by the neighborhood to do things cops used to do. You know, prevent crimes, not shoot dogs, etc.

  • Shirley Knott||

    There are parts of Detroit where this works.
    Fire and 'public works' as well.

  • Trollificus||

    Sure, administer the occasional beatdown to the local assholes, evict squatters, that sort of thing. You might have to let them shoot the occasional dog, though.

  • DenverJ||

    As the sheriff is elected, whilst police chiefs are not, I suspect greater accountability rather than less.

  • Vernon Depner||

    Unfortunately, the way sheriffs get re-elected is by being brainlessly harsh on "criminals".

  • sarcasmic||

    Sooner or later, the legislature has got to declare body camera footage public records.

    How would that help? The public is "everyone except you." So if you file a request, they can always say no, being that you're not the public.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    After a judge ruled in the media's favor, the school board and the state attorney appealed the ruling. Yesterday the Fourth District Court of Appeal in West Palm Beach, Florida, heard oral arguments in the case.

    Hiding footage just implies someone did something wrong, so you're trying to hide it from the public.

  • Tony||

    "It's in the public interest not to embarrass our LEOs any more than our apelike ignorance and obesity already do."

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    (Peterson eventually resigned from the department with a $8,702.35-a-month lifetime pension.)

    Why is his pension higher than the salaries of full-time, trained professionals who have been on the job for 30 years in the private sector? Asking for a friend.

  • Freddy the Jerk||

    Because FYTW.

    Now get back in line citizen. And stop making furtive movements!

  • Longtobefree||

    Tell your friend to look up the power of police unions in negotiating, and the interesting accounting used to calculate union pensions when the taxpayers have unlimited funds.

  • Trollificus||

    When you have a union negotiating with a "business" that cannot go broke or succumb to superior competition, it's almost predictable isn't it? I mean, look into Obama's bailout of GM. It was nothing more than a payoff to the UAW, while everybody else got screwed. (in that particular case, we have to allow that a business "too big to allow to fail" is more or less like government in many aspects)

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    claiming that releasing the footage could facilitate future attacks by revealing blind spots in the school's surveillance system.

    These fucking public officials have no shame. I'm getting tired of bullshit reasons for not releasing information the public is entitled to for lying-assed reasons in an attempt to keep these officials from looking bad.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    Sounds like they just need another brick in their wall.

  • Pro Libertate||

    That's pretty tough to do under Florida law. Bet it ends up released.

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    Like YOU'D know anything about Florida Law...

    Oh wait...

  • The Last American Hero||

    The video probably contains sources and methods. Releasing it could jeopardize national security. If they released the video, ISIS would win.

  • Trollificus||

    If ISIS were more focused on embarrassing these fat, greedy cowardly fucks in blue, I might not even mind.

  • Vernon Depner||

    releasing the footage could facilitate future attacks by revealing blind spots in the school's surveillance system.

    So they spend many times more on legal fees fighting the records request than it would cost to add a few cameras and monitors.

  • Longtobefree||

    "Lawyers gotta eat, too. Just like worms"

    Or something like that.

  • Juice||

    You just admitted that your surveillance system has blind spots. The criminals out there know this now because you refused to release the footage and gave that as your excuse. Looks like you'll have to get a new camera or two and fill in those blind spots anyway. Might as well release the footage now.

  • Pro Libertate||

    Public unions need to effing go.

  • Trollificus||

    +1, just + fucking 1.

  • Palin's Buttplug||


    'Nazi bride' Beate Zschaepe guilty of far-right killings in Germany

    She is the sole surviving member of a neo-Nazi terrorist cell that called itself the National Socialist Underground.

    From 2000 to 2007, the three-member group was behind at least 10 murders — killing eight men of Turkish origin, a Greek migrant and a German female police officer — as well as carrying out two bombings in immigrant areas of Cologne and 15 bank robberies, according to prosecutors.

    https://goo.gl/AeFFxy

    Right wing violence in Germany

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    as well as carrying out two bombings in immigrant areas of Cologne and 15 bank robberies, according to prosecutors.

    Patty Hearst FTW.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    Since Nazis are socialists, thats Left-wing violence.

  • Trainer||

    Nazis, socialists, communists, progressives etc. are all the same thing- violent oppressors. Only minor, unimportant details are different. They don't deserve a wing and should just be called "violent oppressors".

  • lap83||

    You weren't even smart enough to leave out the part where they call themselves socialists.

  • Trollificus||

    What? Aren't you familiar with the devious rationalizations they've come up with to explain that away?

    Boils down to "They weren't REAL socialists because we are the good guys and they were not." Very sophisticated. Very solipsistic. It's what progs do best.

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    North Korean leader Kim Jong Un looks to have ditched Secretary of State Mike Pompeo for a trip to a potato farm in the latest in a long string of embarrassing failures in President Donald Trump's push to denuclearize the Korean Peninsula.

    Pompeo traveled to North Korea to follow up on the vaunted Singapore summit between Kim and Trump, where the two shook hands and posed for pictures while securing little in terms of concrete steps toward denuclearization.

    Pompeo was reportedly promised a meeting with Kim, but Kim appears to have toured a potato farm instead, according to pictures released by North Korean media.

    https://goo.gl/52UPFK

    Don't hand him that Nobel Peace Prize yet.

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    Why not, he got elected. That's the new standard.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    Lefty media is being fooled by north korea.

    Why would pompeo keep going and tallking with north korean officials if it not fruitful?

    Because it is bearing fruit.

  • majil||

    FTP Fry'em like Bacon

  • OpenBordersLiberal-tarian||

    @NYGovCuomo says #NYS will sue "if the Supreme Court acts to roll back Roe v. Wade."

    Clearly, the most important immediate goal for the progressive / libertarian alliance is to prevent right-wing extremist Brett Kavanaugh from joining the Supreme Court. If we don't succeed at this, however, we cannot just give up. The next logical step will be to have various state governments file lawsuits if 5 cis-males dare to overturn the most brilliantly reasoned, Constitutionally sound decision of the past half century.

    #Resist
    #StandWithPP
    #StopKavanaugh

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    #NazisAreEverywhere

  • OpenBordersLiberal-tarian||

    This is regrettably true. But when discussing the Drumpf regime's attack on reproductive rights, the proper dystopia to invoke is Gilead (from The Handmaid's Tale), not Nazi Germany, which is more applicable to immigration issues.

  • OpenBordersLiberal-tarian||

  • BestUsedCarSales||

    America's pass-time? Or Russia's pass time?

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    So he understands government financing. He's a shoo-in!

  • The Last American Hero||

    They're trying to Rubio this guy.

  • Agammamon||

    I like how one of the Twitters says we should care because this shows he's finanically irresponsible.

    Dear, if *I* (or you) put 60k on a credit card *for any reason*, we'd be financially irresponsible. I couldn't even get 60k worth of credit cards if I wanted to.

    That doesn't mean this dude doesn't have the money to cover it. Or, in this case, get reimbursed by the people who he bought the tickets for.

  • Entropy Drehmaschine Void||

    "if 5 cis-males dare to overturn the most brilliantly reasoned, Constitutionally sound decision of the past half century."

    Thr Troll is strong with this one ...

  • DenverJ||

    PNUMBRAS! GOD DAMNIT! PENUMBRAS!

  • DenverJ||

    Seriously. Abortion is complicated, but to see the progressive idiots completely obsess about the "right" discovered lurking in the constitution after almost two hundred years, whilst actively attempting to limit out of existence the second amendment, spelled out clearly in same constitution, is... I don't know, but it's something.

  • SusanM||

    Not sure about the 2nd, but as far as rights lurking in the constitution:

    9th Amendment: The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people

    "It has been objected also against a Bill of Rights, that, by enumerating particular exceptions to the grant of power, it would disparage those rights which were not placed in that enumeration; and it might follow by implication, that those rights which were not singled out, were intended to be assigned into the hands of the General Government, and were consequently insecure. This is one of the most plausible arguments I have ever heard against the admission of a bill of rights into this system; but, I conceive, that it may be guarded against. I have attempted it, as gentlemen may see by turning to the last clause of the fourth resolution."

    James Madison
  • DenverJ||

    Fair enough. I am just pointing out that the right to keep and bear is specifically listed in the BORs, where as abortion is not. And, under the ninth, it would still be a matter for the States. I think the 14th amendment threw a real monkey wrench into federalism and states' rights. Another by-product of America's original sin of slavery. I wonder how our country would be different if slavery had been outlawed before we declared independence. Unfortunately, I suspect that the crown's attempt to eradicate slavery in the colonies would have been listed in the declaration of independence as another affront that King George had committed against the colonies.

  • SusanM||

    I could see that happening.

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    OBL is a parody of the Reason staff.

    Which is sad that the Peanut Gallery thinks lax immigration law disqualifies one as a libertarian.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    Butt is not a parody account. Its some goofball socialist trying to sabotage libertarianism.

  • Ekke Ekke Ptang Zoo Boing||

    I thought Osama Bin Laden was dead?

  • SusanM||

    Though the sheriff's office fought the initial lawsuit, it did not join the school board and the state attorney in the appeal. Spokesperson Veda Coleman-Wright has said the office has no objection to publicizing the footage.

    "Oh, did I mention that Bob, who's a real butterfingers, accidentally dropped the only thumbdrive containing the footage and it went through a paper shredder, a vat of boiling acid, my collection of NIXON/AGNEW refrigerator magnets that my Aunt Pearl left me, got pinned up by mistake on the firing range and was finally found in the firefighter training range. Sure it's still good and you can watch it if you want.

  • Hugh Akston||

    Yeah that was my feeling too. Either the sheriff's office is content to let the other state agencies fight its battles, or the really bad footage has already gone accidentally missing.

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