Journalists know they may find themselves in harm’s way when they cover volatile events such as the demonstrations we have seen in Denver over the past several days. But it is inexcusable – and a violation of the journalists’ constitutional rights – for law enforcement officers to single them out for attack simply for doing their jobs in chronicling these events.
State lawmakers voted down a bill to allow civil lawsuits in state courts against Colorado governments for violations of rights enumerated in the Colorado Constitution, including free speech and a free press.
A split screen might be the best way to think about government transparency in Colorado in 2019. On one side is the ground-breaking new state law that opens records on completed police internal affairs investigations. On the other is the trend among law enforcement agencies in our state to encrypt 100 percent of their scanner transmissions.
The killing, Rangely’s first officer-involved homicide in nearly 40 years, was a story town officials didn’t want told. It wasn’t mentioned at the town council meeting the next day. The town manager and the mayor made no public statements about the shooting, and they ignored the Herald Times’ questions in the aftermath about the job status of Kinney and the chief.
The Colorado Freedom of Information Coalition joined other organizations in urging the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit to affirm the public’s First Amendment right to record police.
Two words come to mind when looking back at 2018’s government transparency highlights and lowlights in Colorado. Judicial secrecy.
HIPAA is the federal Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, enacted by Congress in 1996. The law’s privacy rules, designed to protect the confidential health information of patients, often are misunderstood and misapplied, and that certainly seems to be the case with the July 5 detention of Greene near the state Capitol, according to legal experts.
Two journalist associations and the Colorado Freedom of Information Coalition sent a second letter to Denver’s new police chief, expressing disappointment in his “dismissive, non-substantive” response to an earlier letter regarding the July 5 detention of Colorado Independent Editor Susan Greene while she took pictures of officers.
“Deeply concerned, dismayed and disappointed” by the detention of Colorado Independent Editor Susan Greene last week while she photographed police officers, the Colorado Freedom of Information Coalition and two journalist associations are urging the Denver Department of Public Safety to institute intensive First Amendment training for its employees.
Legislative leaders have approved Statehouse floor credentials for The Colorado Independent based on the recommendation of the Capitol press corps. The news nonprofit was denied similar credentials in 2014 because of its past affiliation with left-leaning political advocacy groups.