FREEDOM OF INFORMATION COMMISSION
OF THE STATE OF CONNECTICUT
In the Matter of a Complaint by FINAL DECISION
against Docket #FIC 95-48
Canton Police Department,
Respondent June 14, 1995
The above-captioned matter was heard as a contested case on April 10, 1995, at which time the complainant and the respondent appeared and presented testimony, exhibits and argument on the complaint.
After consideration of the entire record, the following facts are found and conclusions of law are reached:
1. The respondent is a public agency within the meaning of 1-18a(a), G.S.
2. By letter of complaint filed with this Commission on February 27, 1995, the complainant alleged that the respondent violated the provisions of the Freedom of Information ("FOI") Act by failing to provide to her copies of public records.
3. It is found that by letter dated January 18, 1995, the complainant requested complete copies of all investigation files and reports that were generated as a result of any investigation(s) that took place as a result of her arrest.
4. The records at issue are public records within the meaning of 1-18a(d), G.S.
5. It is also found that due to the respondent's non-response to the above-referenced request, the complainant contacted the respondent by telephone in early February, 1995.
6. It is found that finally on February 16, 1995, the respondent orally indicated its intent to deny the complainant's records request.
7. The respondent is in violation of the provisions of 1-21i(a), G.S., under the facts of this case.
8. It is found that an internal affairs investigation was conducted into the arrest and alleged mistreatment of the
Docket #FIC 95-48 Page 2
complainant by the Canton police department on June 18, 1993, and that reports were generated as a result thereof.
9. At the hearing into this matter, the respondent alleged that:
a) disclosure of the records at issue would constitute an invasion of the arresting officer's personal privacy;
b) disclosure of the records at issue would have a chilling effect on internal affairs investigations;
c) the complainant failed to sufficiently identify the records she sought.
10. It is also found that the respondent's decision to withhold the requested records from the complainant was based on the advice of counsel.
11. It is found that although the respondent claims that the disclosure of the records at issue would violate the privacy of its investigating officer, it failed to follow the provisions of 1-20a(b), G.S.
12. It is also found that the respondent failed to establish that disclosure of the records at issue would be highly offensive to the reasonable person and that the information sought does not pertain to legitimate matters of public concern within the meaning of Perkins v. FOI Commission, 228 Conn. 158, 175 (1993).
13. It is accordingly concluded that under the facts of this case, the respondent failed to establish that the records at issue are exempt from disclosure pursuant to the provisions of 1-19(b)(2), G.S.
14. It is concluded that the respondent's policy argument that disclosure of the records at issue would have a chilling effect on internal affairs investigations is unsupported by the facts of this case, and furthermore fails to state a claim of exemption for disclosure under the provisions of the FOI Act.
15. It is also found that the complainant sufficiently identified the records she sought pursuant to this contested case.
16. It is concluded that the respondent violated the provisions of 1-15(a), G.S., by failing to promptly provide to the complainant copies of the requested records at issue.
Docket #FIC 95-48 Page 3
The following order by the Commission is hereby recommended on the basis of the record concerning the above-captioned complaint.
1. The respondent shall forthwith provide to the complainant copies of the requested records identified in the findings, above, free of charge.
2. The respondent shall henceforth strictly comply with the provisions of 1-15(a), G.S.
Approved by Order of the Freedom of Information Commission at its regular meeting of June 14, 1995.
Debra L. Rembowski
Clerk of the Commission
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PURSUANT TO SECTION 4-180(c), G.S. THE FOLLOWING ARE THE NAMES OF EACH PARTY AND THE MOST RECENT MAILING ADDRESS, PROVIDED TO THE FREEDOM OF INFORMATION COMMISSION, OF THE PARTIES OR THEIR AUTHORIZED REPRESENTATIVE.
THE PARTIES TO THIS CONTESTED CASE ARE:
c/o Stuart Ivimey, Esq.
Michael D. Neubert, Esq.
Neubert, Pepe & Monteith, P.C.
195 Church Street - 13th Floor
New Haven, CT 06510-2026
CANTON POLICE DEPARTMENT
c/o John Rose, Jr., Esq.
Levy & Droney, P.C.
P.O. Box 887
Farmington, CT 06034-0887
Debra L. Rembowski
Clerk of the Commission