Newspaper sues university for access to police reports

CALIFORNIA The Sacramento Bee filed a lawsuit againstthe University of California at Davis Jan. 16 in an effort to access universitypolice reports.

The Bee took legal action after the university declined to provide13 police reports filed between August 1996 and January 2000 relating tocrimes at a medical center in Sacramento and an additional crime on theDavis campus.

The Bee filed a public record act request with the universityOct. 31 and asked university officials to release a series of documentsto substantiate claims by officers within the UC Davis Police Departmentalleging that crimes had gone underreported at the university in the past.

On Dec. 15 the university refused to release the police reports, citinga 1993 court case that UC officials argued allowed them to refuse to provideinformation about investigations that are no loner active and suspectswho are no longer in the criminal justice system.

The lawsuit represents a culmination in a series of confrontations betweenthe newspaper and administrative officials at the University of Californiathat have occurred since the paper ran two stories in September questioningthe accuracy of the university’s crime-reporting practices.

According to Rick Rodriguez, executive editor at The Sacramento Bee,both sides are prepared to argue that they are in the right.

“We’re going to be headed to court because we think the public has aright to know and these records should be open to scrutiny,” Rodriguezsaid. “[UC-Davis officials] believe these records put them in legal jeopardy,so we have a real disagreement.”

Legal documents from The Sacramento Bee’s lawsuit against UC-Davisare available on Security on Campus’s Web site at:

The Sacramento Bee articles about the violations of the CleryAct by the UC system are available online at:

Previous Stories:

Beestings UC system with exposé on campus crime reporting errors(Winter 2000-01 Report)

Campussecurity organization asks DOE to establish Clery Act office (10/10/00)