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ACLU appeals ruling denying access to Iowa police records

March 25, 2019

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — The American Civil Liberties Union of Iowa says it will appeal a ruling that could limit the public’s access to information about officer-involved shootings and other investigations.

The ACLU announced Monday that it is appealing a ruling by the Iowa Public Information Board, which gave its blessing to police departments who withhold videos, 911 calls and other records from the public.

The board ruled in February that all records gathered and analyzed as part of a criminal investigation can be considered part of a “peace officers’ investigative report” and therefore exempt from open records requests.

According to the transparency board, police and prosecutors can withhold body camera videos and other records even after an investigation has concluded. The board says authorities are only required to release the basic facts and circumstances of an incident.

The ruling found that the Burlington Police Department and Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation acted lawfully when denying access to records detailing an officer’s accidental shooting of a mother in 2015.

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