The Herald Bulletin

Morning Update

Nation & World

September 26, 2013

Connecticut panel orders release of Newtown 911 tapes

(Continued)

HARTFORD, Conn. —

On the day of the shooting, the AP requested documents, including copies of 911 calls, as it does routinely in news gathering, in part to examine the police response to the massacre that sent officers from multiple agencies racing to the school. If the recordings are released, the AP would review the content and determine what, if any, of it would meet the news cooperative's standards for publication.

The town's police department denied the AP's request, and the AP appealed to the FOI commission.

Although 911 calls are typically released, Sedensky directed Newtown police not to turn over the recordings while the inquiry was underway. In testimony in June before a hearing officer for the commission, Newtown's police chief said a search for the records was not conducted until three days before his appearance at the FOI commission hearing.

A Connecticut law passed earlier this year in response to the massacre creates exemptions to the freedom-of-information law for the release of photographs, film, video and other images depicting a homicide victim if those records constitute "an unwarranted invasion" on the privacy of the surviving family members. It also created a one-year moratorium on the release of certain portions of audiotape and other recordings — with the exception of 911 tapes — in which the condition of a homicide victim is described.

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