On December 27, 2018, Appen Media Group filed a lawsuit against the City of Roswell Police Department for violation of the Georgia Open Records Act.
The suit, filed in Fulton County Superior Court, alleges the Police Department has consistently withheld vital information about criminal incidents that are, by law, public records.
The suit also alleges the department has consistently failed to meet the time requirements for providing requested records, in some cases by nearly a month.
Georgia’s Open Records Law provides that county, city and school governments make available all public records for inspection and copying. The law defines public records as all documents, tapes, photographs, computer-based or generated information prepared and maintained or receivedby an agency.
The newspaper claims that not only were the Roswell Police incident reports redacted to the point of illegibility, but they were days — sometimes weeks — late in coming.
“There is no authority which allows the City of Roswell to fail to make them available upon request,” the suit argues.
Appen attorneys David and Brooks Hudson also cite a 1995 Georgia Supreme Court ruling in a case involving the Atlanta Journal Constitution vs. the City of Brunswick, Ga. In that case, the state High Court ruled, in part, that “the entirety of an initial arrest, accident or incident report would not be exempted from disclosure … even if that report is part of a "pending investigation or prosecution.”
Appen Media Group intends to take the lawsuit all the way to trial, but needs help to get there. Attorneys fees are piling up and the City is using the full weight of its rainy day fund (tax payer dollars) to fight back.
Every dollar will help. Please consider making a donation to help us fight for your right to information that you have a lawful right to receive.