The mother of a 19-year-old man who was killed during a confrontation with police last year is on a mission to make law enforcement body camera footage more available to the public under Colorado law.
Should you have to show identification to inspect or get copies of public records? Unlike a few states such as Virginia and Tennessee, Colorado has no requirement that freedom-of-information requests be made by people who actually live in the state. So what’s the point? Is it legal?
An amended bill endorsed by the Colorado House no longer opens records on police internal affairs files, but essentially encourages their disclosure once an investigation is complete.
Aurora has agreed to revise its policies on the disclosure of police internal affairs records as part of a lawsuit settlement, but a new court case alleges the city wrongly withheld body-worn camera footage related to a traffic accident involving Denver Police Chief Robert White.
New research makes a case for reforming Colorado’s criminal justice records statute to require the public release of files on completed internal affairs investigations concerning law enforcement officers accused of wrongdoing.
Citing two Colorado Supreme Court decisions, a judge has ordered the Aurora Police Department to produce a written analysis of “pertinent factors” it did not weigh before rejecting an open records request for an internal affairs investigative file.
Should state law be changed to limit public access to arrest records of people who never were charged with crimes or haven’t yet been charged? The Colorado Commission on Criminal and Juvenile Justice is exploring that idea, concerned that such records, if they turn up in background checks, can negatively affect peoples’ chances of getting employment or finding housing.