City leaders respond to FOIA request, Ethics Complaint filed by WCBI
COLUMBUS, Miss. (WCBI) – City leaders in Columbus responded to questions about a Freedom Of Information Act request and Ethics Complaint filed by WCBI.
WCBI filed the ethics complaint yesterday, after receiving no response from the city about requests for information regarding a shooting on 14th Avenue North, on January 19.
At least three sources said the shooting happened at a house where gambling was taking place. There was an argument. Shortly after, shots were fired. The victim was in his truck and hit by gunfire. He drove himself to the hospital.
That was where the police took his statement. The victim allegedly told officers that there was an off-duty CPD officer at the house at the time of the shooting.
We are told that the officer left the scene after the shooting and failed to report it to 911, Columbus police, or his supervisors.
WCBI made two public records requests for the incident report and other documentation.
At a press conference Wednesday, Mayor Keith Gaskin and City Attorney Jeff Turnage addressed the matter.
“The police chief has said that it’s an ‘ongoing investigation’, and so that is why he has declined to release that information at this time,” said Gaskin.
“An incident report which is what a public record, is not exempt, but investigative materials in the possession of a law enforcement agency are exempt. That doesn’t mean you can’t produce it, but if the Chief decides it would hurt an investigation, or that it would reveal the identity of an informant or a witness, or would prematurely release information that would impair the public body’s enforcement or investigative tactics, then they’re going to err on the side of exempting it, and not producing it. And, I think that’s what the Chief’s position is, based on conversations I’ve had with him,” said Turnage.
This is at least the second such complaint filed against the city in recent weeks over police records.
The Commercial Dispatch filed one in January.
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