District judge: Coroner wrongfully withheld autopsy reports in deputy’s death

Colorado Springs Independent: The media prevailed in a lawsuit on May 29 over then-El Paso County Coroner Robert Bux’s  refusal to release autopsy reports for Deputy Micah Flick and suspect Manuel Zetina last year.

District Judge Michael McHenry awarded attorney fees that could top $20,000 to the IndependentGazette and other local media, said media attorney Steve Zansberg of Denver.

“The media’s first responsibility is to our readers, which includes shining a light on government activities,” Indy Publisher Amy Sweet said. “The Indy will always fight for the public’s right to know.”

The case stems from the fatal shooting of Flick by Zetina during a Feb. 5, 2018, attempted take-down of the suspected auto theft at an apartment complex at Murray Boulevard and Galley Road. Three other officers also were injured by Zetina, who also shot bystander Thomas Villanueva, 29, who was left paralyzed from the chest down and has filed a lawsuit against various agencies seeking millions of dollars in damages.

After the Indy and Gazette sought the autopsy reports on several occasions following the shooting and were denied access, Bux filed a petition with the court seeking to withhold the reports citing several reasons, including the emotional impact their release would have on Flick’s family.

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