Newspaper seeks police officer’s discipline records
The Santa Fe Reporter wants a state district judge to order the city of Santa Fe to turn over discipline records for a police officer involved in the shooting death last year of a mentally ill man.
The weekly newspaper is challenging Santa Fe Police Department records custodian Greg Gurule’s response to its request under the state Inspection of Public Records Act, arguing that his statement that “internal investigations and their findings are considered Personnel Matters and are not subject to public review” is overly broad and not supported by the law.
A journalist for the paper in September sent a request for “any and all records showing the fact of discipline in any and all internal/administrative investigations into the conduct of SFPD officer Jeremy Bisagna.”
Bisagna was one of two members of a police SWAT team who fired at 24-year-old Anthony Benavidez, who had refused to come out of a Santa Fe apartment and who police say was a threat to officers. After Bisagna was placed on standard leave following the fatal shooting, he returned to duty.
The paper’s attorney, Daniel Yohalem, argues in the court petition that while matters of opinion are legally exempt from the records law, the fact that an officer was disciplined would not be a matter of opinion.