Federal court upholds state law on disclosing police records

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MIDDLETOWN, Conn. (AP) — A federal appeals court has upheld part of a 2020 Connecticut police accountability law that allows public disclosure of state trooper personnel files and internal investigations.

The 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New York on Thursday rejected a challenge by the Connecticut State Police Union, which argued the law violates the 2018-2022 troopers' contract by stripping away its exemptions to state freedom of information laws.

The contract section in question says troopers' personnel files and documents in internal investigations that end with no finding of wrongdoing are not subject to disclosure.

A three-judge panel of the appeals court upheld a lower court ruling against the union.

“Because we conclude that the law the union sought to enjoin was reasonable and necessary to achieve a legitimate public purpose, we identify no error in the District Court’s legal or factual conclusions,” the panel wrote.

A message seeking comment was left with the state police union on Friday. It wasn't immediately clear if the union plans to take the case to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Proponents of the 2020 law said it answered the calls for reform after the police killings of George Floyd and other Black people. It also created a new state inspector general to investigate police use-of-force cases statewide, limited circumstances in which deadly use of force can be justified, and allowed lawsuits in state courts against officers in certain cases.

The Associated Press

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