Council President Hopes for Police Tapes Closure Next Week

Photo Credit: Chris Campbell, flickr

The president of the South Bend Common Council is reacting to yesterday’s ruling on the police tapes controversy, saying that he hopes to resolve the matter in the near future.

“The Judge’s decision was an interesting one,” Scott told the South Bend Voice. “While some in the City will be disappointed in the overall outcome, I believe, in a way the Council was understanding the wiretap law correctly which seems to cover part of the scenario. It looks as if one of the tapes could be heard and it was our point that transparency in all government procedures is vital.”

Scott says that he hopes to bring the case to a close in the near future.

“I will be meeting with the Council attorney today for a review of the decision and if there are any next steps or closure to the matter. I am planning on meeting with the council for a review and closure, hopefully next week. The council has said in the past we would honor the decision no matter the outcome. We also need to work with the citizens of South Bend, the Administration and the Police to move the city forward and past this event. I do think lessons were learned in the dealing of this case,” Scott said.

Judge Joseph S. Van Bokkelen of the US District Court in Hammond ruled on Wednesday that most recordings of a police officer’s phone line violated the federal Wiretap Act. The judge found that a majority of the tapes could not be released to the public.

However, the ruling opens the door to the release of at least one tape, which the court found was unintentional and therefore did not violate the Wiretap Act.

(For background on the case, read our article on the judge’s ruling.)

The mayor’s office had refused to release the tapes, arguing that doing so would violate federal law. The Common Council issued a subpoena to have the tapes turned over but the mayor’s office resisted, opting to take the matter to court for a judge to decide.

Now that the judge’s decision has been rendered, the mayor’s office says that they are weighing with their attorneys as to whether at least one of the tapes can be released.

Photo Credit: Chris Campbell, flickr

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