Zansberg: Colorado takes steps toward government transparency as the nation backtracks

The Denver Post: In 2017, the city of Aurora paid Darsean Kelley $110,000 to settle his claims against an Aurora police officer who tased him in the back, even though Kelley had fully complied with the officer’s orders. Upon being tased for no reason, Kelley fell straight backward and hit his head on concrete. An Aurora police investigation found that the officer’s actions were “reasonable, appropriate and within policy.”

Want to know why? “Sorry,” says the Aurora Police Department. It refuses to disclose its internal affairs investigation file on this and other incidents.

This week is Sunshine Week, during which we celebrate our right, as self-governing citizens, to access information that enables us to hold our public servants accountable. The underlying principle is, to quote an important phrase in American declaration, “self-evident”: without access to records that show what our government is doing — with our taxpayer dollars, in our names, and affecting our lives — we cannot maintain a functioning self-governing democracy. Sunshine Week provides an annual opportunity to assess the state of the laws that guarantee us the right to access such information.

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