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Friday, July 24, 2009

Appellate court says police internal affairs reports are public

The 4th District Appellate Court ruled that police internal affairs reports are public records, The State Journal-Register reported. The court said this is so no matter what the results of the investigation are. The ruling was in response to a lawsuit filed by a dentist who complained that a sheriff's deputy roughed him up for driving improperly during a kidney-stone attack. The dentist, Mark Gekas, didn't sue for excessive force but only after the department didn't turn over copies of the internal affairs report to him.

Police internal affairs files are public records, even if investigators conclude that accused officers did nothing wrong, a state appeals court has ruled.

The decision came Monday in a lawsuit filed by Springfield dentist Mark Gekas, who says he was roughed up by Sangamon County sheriff’s deputy John Gillette during a 2006 traffic stop.

Gekas sued Sheriff Neil Williamson after the department refused to give him copies of internal affairs reports. The department said the records are part of Gillette’s personnel file and that making them public would violate the deputy’s right to privacy.

More here.

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