Police secrets have no place in the Sunshine State

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Sunlight remains the best disinfectant in the Sunshine State. Last week, the Florida Supreme Court rejected a police union’s argument that a victims’ rights law shields the names of officers who kill on the job. Florida Supreme Court Building 2011 by Bruin79 is licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0.

The Florida Supreme Court decided last week that the names of two officers who shot and killed suspects in separate incidents can be released to the public, despite efforts by a police union to keep them secret.

The court rejected the union’s argument that the names could be shielded under Marsy’s Law, which is meant to protect the privacy of victims. (Yes, you read that right — cops who kill people are invoking victims’ rights laws).

In an op-ed in the Tampa Bay Times, Freedom of the Press Foundation (FPF) Deputy Advocacy Director Caitlin Vogus explains how police have used Marsy’s Law and other arguments to withhold officer names from public release or even censor the press from reporting information it already has.

Vogus wrote:

“These intense battles for secrecy by police in Florida raise the question of why officers are so worried about the public knowing their names and so willing to advance clearly disingenuous arguments to evade the public scrutiny they signed up for. … Floridians must demand that the law enforcement agencies drop their anti-transparency arguments that would shield the names of cops from the public. If they won’t, Florida courts must continue to rebuff them.”

You can read the full op-ed here.

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