In the Matter of a Complaint by FINAL DECISION


Richard Plaskonka,




against Docket #FIC 88-322


Diane McCormick, Assistant to the Town Manager, T. William Knapp, Chief of Police, and Police Department of the Town of Wethersfield,


Respondents January 11, 1989


The above-captioned matter was scheduled for hearing September 26, 1988, at which time the parties appeared and presented evidence on the complaint. The hearing was continued to November 8, 1988, at which time the respondents presented a Vaughn-type index, additional evidence, and argument.


After consideration of the entire record, the following facts are found.


1. The respondents are public agencies within the meaning of 1-18a(a), G.S.


2. By complaint filed August 9, 1988, the complainant alleged denial of his right to have copies of notes pertaining to a civilian complaint he had made against two officers of the respondent department, and a copy of a case incident report filed in July 1988, concerning the arrest of Michael Dewhurst.


3. It is found that the respondents denied the complainant access to the requested records on August 8, 1988, after he made an oral request for the records on August 1, 1988.


4. The respondents allege that portions of the case incident report are exempt under 1-19(b)(3), 1-19(b)(4), 1-19(c), 1-19b(b), 51-14, and 29-16, G.S.


5. It is found that the respondents are willing to provide the complainant with the following portions of the case incident report of Michael Dewhurst:


(a) paragraph 2 on page 3 which states the name and last known address of the suspect, other charges for which Dewhurst was wanted, and the fact that Dewhurst was turned over to another police department;


#FIC 88-322 page 2


(b) paragraph 4 on page 3 which states that the department notified the homeowner whose property was damaged by the motor vehicle driven by the accused;


(c) the uniform arrest report attached to the incident report;


(d) the vehicle inventory attached to the incident report;



(e) the notice of rights attached to the incident report.


6. It is found that at the time of the November hearing State v. Michael Dewhurst, Case #88-07-0690, was pending in Superior Court.


7. It is found that the portions of the incident report which the respondents claim are exempt in their Vaughn-type index (respondents' exhibit 3), are exempt under 1-19(b)(3), G.S. because disclosure of the information would be prejudicial to the prospective prosecution of Michael Dewhurst.


8. It is concluded that it is not necessary to deal with the additional claims of the respondents.


9. The respondents claimed they were not informed that the complainant wanted copies of the notes pertaining to the complainant's civilian complaint.


10. It is found that the respondent chief told the complainant that he should request a copy of the notes on his internal affairs complaint in writing.


11. It is found that 1-15, G.S. requires requests for copies to be in writing.


12. It is found that the complainant did not put his request in writing.


13. It is concluded that the complainant was not denied access to a copy of the report because he did not provide the respondents with a written request as required by 1-15, G.S.


The following order by the Commission is hereby recommended on the basis of the record concerning the above-captioned complaint.


#FIC 88-322 page 3


1. The respondents shall forthwith provide the complainant with a copy of the portions of the arrest report set forth at paragraph 5(a) through (e), G.S.


Approved by order of the Freedom of Information Commission at its regular meeting of January 11, 1989.




Catherine H. Lynch

Acting Clerk of the Commission