Open Records Request filed to provide Red Arrow Park answers
Statement of Alderwoman Milele A. Coggs September 30, 2014
Last week I sent a letter (attached) to the State of Wisconsin Department of Justice, asking under the provisions of Wisconsin’s Open Records law for a copy of the report conducted by the Criminal Investigation Division (CID) into the death of Mr. Dontre Hamilton. Today marks five months to the day since he was shot in Red Arrow Park.
It is my understanding that the report was completed nearly one month ago and turned over to the Milwaukee County District Attorney’s office. As, by definition, the investigation by the CID is complete, I can see no reason—legal or otherwise—why this report should now be withheld.
My hope is that the state DOJ will review this request and, as these reports are a new kind of record, affirm my belief that they are public records subject to full disclosure. More importantly, I am also hopeful that the DOJ will release the report so that it can be shared with the Hamilton family and the public as soon as possible.
For the sake of transparency, the public deserves access to the information that is contained in the CID report, and I see no reason why it cannot be released. Unfortunately the District Attorney is still examining the case to determine whether any charges should be filed against the police officer who shot Mr. Hamilton. However, there is no legal reason, in my view, to withhold the CID report until the DA’s decision is announced.
The new state law requiring review of in-custody deaths by an outside agency has flaws, but I believe the delay in releasing information from the investigation into the death of Mr. Hamilton is unnecessary and has made the situation for the grieving Hamilton family that much more painful.
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