Seattle suing attorney over dash cam videos

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by LINDA BRILL / KING 5 News

KING5.com

Posted on January 4, 2012 at 7:41 PM

SEATTLE -- A Seattle attorney, who asked for copies of police dash cam videos is getting sued by the city of Seattle.

 
The attorney represents some citizens who claim they were abused by Seattle Police officers.
 
Acting as a citizen, lawyer James Egan filed a public disclosure request to get 36 dash cam showing possible violations by Seattle Police.
 
Many dash cam videos have surfaced in the past, but they were leaked to the media, not released by the city.
 
The answer to Egan's request was no. And after he appealed, Wednesday he learned he has been sued by the city.
 
"I was floored that I got this lawsuit," said Egan.  "Its the city caught between a rock and a hard place."
 
The city attorney wants a court to decide.  He says the Washington privacy act says the videos can't be made public until final disposition of related litigation.
 
In other words not until the officers can no longer be sued for what they did in the video and that's three years under the statute of limitations.
 
"We will follow what the court tells us and that why were going for guidance from the court," said Seattle City Attorney Pete Holmes.
 
If a judge decides, under the privacy act the videos can't be released, the public will have to wait three years to see them.
 
"The idea that you can't get a video until three years later is self protectionism.  They don't want the public to know the skeletons in their closets," said Egan.  
 
Now, Egan is  on the defense.  He may have to hire another attorney to help him fight the city and get access to the tapes and he says it could cost him tens of thousands of dollars.

 

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