Two days after hearing arguments, a Superior Court Judge has decided the court will not intervene at this time in deciding whether the names of over 100 state troopers, who may have falsified traffic records submitted to a racial profiling prevention group, should be released by the Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection.
“Although the State Police Union has concerns for the safety of its members, this court is not the proper forum at present. The media defendants have a pending complaint with the commission, where the commission is properly charged with enforcement of the provisions of FOIA,” Judge Rupal Shah wrote.
During the hearing earlier this week, two media outlets argued that a court injunction blocking the state from releasing the names interfered with the FOI Commission’s authority over the disclosure of public records.
Shah found that the jurisdiction over the matter still resides with the Freedom of Information Commission.
“Until the commission acts, the court cannot consider the propriety of the disclosure or non-disclosure of a public record,” Shah wrote.
Andy Matthews, executive director of the Connecticut State Police Union, said Friday that the union will be filing a motion to intervene in the complaint filed with the Freedom of Information Commission.
“We respect the judicial process. We are reviewing the judge’s decision to determine whether it will be necessary to file an appeal,” Matthews said. “However, tomorrow we will be petitioning the Freedom of Information Commission and filing a motion to intervene in the case before it due to DESPP’s denial of the request from the press for the names and badge numbers of our Troopers. As you are aware, to date, 27 of the 130 Troopers named in Mr. Barone’s audit have been exonerated and removed from the list and DESPP is actively analyzing the audit findings. We are highly confident additional Troopers on the list, who were falsely accused, will be cleared of any wrongdoing.”
The troopers were flagged in a June audit by the Connecticut Racial Profiling Prohibition Project, which concluded there was a “high likelihood” that some state troopers had falsified reporting to the board in at least 25,966 instances.