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Date published: 9/25/2012
WASHINGTON--The D.C. police department is refusing to release a copy of a 911 call made after a shooting at the headquarters of a conservative Christian lobbying group, even though such recordings are treated as public records in many other jurisdictions.
The Associated Press had requested a copy of the Aug. 15 recording under the District of Columbia's open-records law. But the department rejected that request, saying the call was part of an ongoing FBI investigation, that the caller was a witness in the investigation and that it would not be possible to edit the recording to redact sensitive portions.
District officials have used similar justifications in denying other requests for 911 recordings, including an opinion from the executive office of the mayor last May that invoked the privacy interest of the caller. That opinion, which rejected an appeal from a reporter whose request for a 911 call had been denied, said the calls were not presumed to be public records under the D.C. code and that officials didn't have to disclose the record.
Floyd Lee Corkins II is charged in federal court with shooting a security guard at the Family Research Council headquarters. Authorities say Corkins told the guard, Leo Johnson, that he didn't like the organization's policies before opening fire in the lobby.