Monday, June 27, 2016

Media organizations sue City of Orlando over Pulse 911 calls

Posted By on Mon, Jun 27, 2016 at 10:28 AM

  • Photo by Monivette Cordeiro
A coalition of media organizations, including the Orlando Sentinel and the Associated Press, filed a lawsuit against the City of Orlando for its refusal to release the 911 calls and other emergency communication during the morning of the mass shooting that killed 49 at the gay nightclub Pulse. 

The city says those files are exempt from Florida's broad public records law under two instances: They contain active criminal intelligence information and are part of an active investigation, and they might record the "killing of a person."  

But the media organizations say that's contradictory to what the FBI and local law enforcement officials have stated about part of that night. 

"The federal government has stated that there were no reports of gunfire during the three-hour standoff," the lawsuit says. "Thus no recordings created during that time could have captured any killings."

The city filed a countersuit against the AP seeking declaratory relief and guidance from a judge on what calls should be released, according to a city press release. 

"It is important that we are completely open with the community about what happened that night at Pulse," says Mayor Buddy Dyer in a statement. "We support the FBI’s commitment not to compromise the integrity of the investigation, but we must balance that with our responsibility to be transparent with the Orlando community and comply with state and federal laws."

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