The public release of the amended autopsy report on the 2019 death of Elijah McClain ended a legal fight that didn’t need to happen, said Steve Zansberg, president of the Colorado Freedom of Information Coalition.
Aurora Police Department
But a year after House Bill 21-1250 was signed into law, reporters still can’t tune into Denver and Aurora police radio transmissions like they did before both agencies blocked public access — Denver in 2019 and Aurora three years earlier. Although each department has a written policy on radio access, neither has reached an agreement with any Denver metro news organizations.
A new analysis of open records laws in all 50 states highlights several ways Colorado legislators could make criminal justice records more accessible to journalists and the public.
Several of the 24 entries stood out as glaring illustrations of the barriers and attitudes journalists and members of the public sometimes encounter when they request government records or otherwise try to monitor what their public officials are doing.
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.
Colorado would join a dozen other states that require public disclosure of internal records on police misconduct under legislation introduced in the House.
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.