Chief justice says ruling guts access to police records

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MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — The Alabama Supreme Court has ruled that a sheriff’s office did not have to turn over records about a fatal shooting by a deputy.

The ruling broadly interpreted an exemption for investigative records and prompted a sharply worded dissent by the chief justice.

Justices on Friday upheld a lower court’s ruling in favor of the Baldwin County sheriff’s office denying records about the 2017 shooting to a weekly news outlet. Justices ruled the records fall under an exemption for investigative records.

Chief Justice Tom Parker issued a strongly worded dissent. He says the ruling “spells the end of public access to law enforcement records” that might be connected to an investigation.

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