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CJ Grffin

Appeals court rules police must release use of force report involving minor

By Nikita Biryukov, February 19 2020 1:09 pm

A New Jersey Appellate Division overturned a lower court ruling that barred the release of a police use of force report related to an incident involving a minor.

The Trentonian, represented by prominent Open Public Records Act attorney CJ Griffin, filed an OPRA lawsuit request seeking a use of force report seeking use of force reports relating to alleged use of force against a 16-year-old in March 2018.

The appeals court ruled use of force reports could be released in such cases with the juvenile victim’s name redacted.

The complaint was initially dismissed in July 2018, but was overturned on appeal Wednesday.

“Law enforcement officers have the authority to use force against individuals when it is justified, but with that great power comes a corresponding need for transparency. When police use force against children, the public’s need and desire for transparency is even greater. Today’s decision ensures that the public has access to all Use of Force Reports, not just those involving adults.”

Several organizations, including the American Civil Liberties Union, the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press and the New Jersey Office of the Attorney General filed amicus briefs backing Griffin’s arguments.

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