RTD refused to release crash videos citing ‘active’ investigations that were already closed

Denver7: A Denver7 investigation reveals RTD repeatedly denied numerous requests for video from bus and train incidents claiming the incidents were still under investigation by law enforcement when in fact, those investigations had already concluded.

State law allows public agencies to deny requests for public records under the Colorado Open Records Act (CORA) if they pertain to active law enforcement investigations. But Denver7 found a handful of cases in which RTD denied requests for video citing ongoing police investigations that had actually already concluded.

“I find it disconcerting that a public agency, financed by public funds, and performing a public function, is withholding records for which there isn’t any valid exemption under our open records act,” said attorney Steve Zansberg, president of the Colorado Freedom of Information Coalition. Zansberg has represented media agencies in legal cases where TV stations and newspapers have sought public records after being denied.

In one RTD case reviewed by Denver7, RTD refused for months to release video to a driver who hoped the footage would prove she wasn’t at fault when she had a brush with death in an eye-popping collision with a light rail train on June 30 of last year.

“It was one of those things where you’re like, ‘I can’t believe this is happening to me.’ Then I thought, ‘I’m dead,’” driver Tia Mills told investigative reporter Jace Larson.

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