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Thread: OCME called the cops on me --- over a FOIA request

  1. #1
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    OCME called the cops on me --- over a FOIA request

    Got a call from the venerable Sgt. Post in Farmington (UCONN Police).

    I wrote OCME asking if they had the documents ready for review that they previously told me they have prepared for my review (Newtown related). They have had the records ready for several days. A simple email:

    Dear Dr. Gill,

    Are we ready for the inspection of records that the OCME have no objection to on the 20th?

    Let me know. Its a long trip to your facility and wish to make sure everything goes smoothly.


    Ring ring ring ... Sgt. Post ... do not go to the OCME Farmington bldg...you will be arrested if you do. The basic premise of the call.

    SHTF ... I do not take such BS kindly. I let Sgt. Post know that I still intend on going over to the public bldg unless he has a court order. I wanted to file a new FOIA request as well as look at records or find the status of the records that they said they had ready for my review. The nice Sgt told me they don't have any records ready ... I said its irrelevant 'cause I want to file a new request anyways. He relented and said I could go over but said "you cannot discuss anything else!". I asked if I was suspected of committing a crime..no..and told him to butt out of a civil matter. (If they want to involve themselves then they should be looking to enforce the access requirements of our FOIA Act, not frustrate it.)

    What a bunch of goofs.

    What is OCME hiding? They have records they have no objection in having me examine, collect them, tell that they are ready, and then do a 180 and don't even tell me but have the cops call me?

    I shot over a link (http://www.ct.gov/foi/cwp/view.asp?a=4163&Q=489130) to the relevant state statue to the Chief at UCONN and asked him under what authority does his dept. have that can trump FOIA law. I doubt he'll respond. But I'm sure they will no longer interfere.

    Such silliness ... what can they do? Just say "we have no records". They don't like people asking about the Newtown records, that's for sure. In respect to a FOIA request filed on 30 SEP 13 .... almost 60 days ago...now that's prompt, huh?

  2. #2
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    Well, this got resolved in about 30 seconds. The chief of the UCONN police agreed that a FOIA matter is a civil matter that his dept. should not gave gotten involved with....

  3. #3
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    thanks for the update. Nice to see you don't back down and beat them with there own rules. This method is something that seems to work across the board. Knowledge is power.

  4. #4
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    Well, you learn something new every day.

    Went over to the OCME yesterday after they jerked me around to schedule a viewing of records. And they only allowed me 1 hr to review hundreds of records.

    Now, that FOIA Act allows one to scan records.

    I see CGS Sec 19a-411 allows the OCME to add rules regarding autopsy and other scientific records:
    ....(b) The report of examinations conducted by the Chief Medical Examiner, Deputy Chief Medical Examiner, an associate medical examiner or an authorized assistant medical examiner, and of the autopsy and other scientific findings may be made available to the public only through the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner and in accordance with this section, section 1-210 and the regulations of the commission. Any person may obtain copies of such records upon such conditions and payment of such fees as may be prescribed by the commission
    ,...

    Now most of the records I asked for had nothing to go with autopsy &/or scientific records. So I brought my scanner with me.

    And, of course, a cop was there...and I brought my video recorder.

    So, I told them I intended on video recording because I have the right to video the police and I was going to scan records and I was going to use my audio recorder for notes. No no no no. Not allowed to do any of that.

    They "allowed" me an hour to review the records .. and only upon weeks of me asking for specific dates to come in to view the records where they said "that date is no good"....this is a violation of the FOIA Act...you view records anytime the place is open...to the requester's convenience, not theirs.


    So, off went a complaint to the police chief at the health center and off went a email to a FOIC hearing officer asking for direction regarding FOIA requests that I copied to the other party...

    Next will be a very unpleasant call to the OCME telling them to take their restrictions and shove them where the sun don't shine and demand access to records as the Act intended.

  5. #5
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    Thanks for the your thoughts on this. I closed out accounts and switched banks. As far as pursuing a complaint, It's not worth the effort as nothing will change in my opinion.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by sidelinellc View Post
    Thanks for the your thoughts on this. I closed out accounts and switched banks. As far as pursuing a complaint, It's not worth the effort as nothing will change in my opinion.
    I think you posted on wrong thread ... but you did good ... close the account. The only thing banks understand is $$$

  7. #7
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    As you have now seen the amount of material we have for your review, do you have an estimate as to how long it would take for you to review all the material? If so, we can try to set up a single extended visit for your review. Available days include December 17, 18, 19, 20, and 23.

    Oh oh oh ... new response ... after I contacted several folks ... (even then the OCME said that they could limit my time to a review for 1 hr at a time) .... I assume OCME contacted the AG and FOIC ... then puked out the result above.

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