Journalists Protest St. Paul Police Subpoena Of TV Reporter


The St. Paul Police Department's administrative subpoena of KMSP-TV reporter Tom Lyden's phone records and the phone records of a Ramsey County, Mn., sheriff's employee was an abuse of power and an affront to First Amendment rights, say Society of Professional Journalists leaders. “Tom Lyden was doing his job and a service to the people of St. Paul and the state of Minnesota,” SPJ President Clint Brewer said. “This was clearly a public record, and the St. Paul Police Department's actions are nothing less than an attack on the First Amendment and the notion of open government. They should withdraw their subpoena, return Mr. Lyden's phone records and apologize.”

Lyden reportedly went to the police department with intentions to research the criminal record of a woman who was sitting in a car with a man who allegedly shot an undercover police officer last June. Under Minnesota's public records law, Lyden should have been entitled to view a copy of the seven-year-old traffic arrest of the woman. He was denied access and later obtained the document from a county official who acknowledged it was public information. He reported his story without naming the woman, who was considered a witness in the police shooting last summer. After the story aired, the police department issued the administrative subpoena, citing concerns over data privacy. “In obtaining my phone records they basically opened up my reporter's notebook,” Lyden said. “They basically looked at my notes. They have looked at sources. They have looked at people I have tried to protect.”


Comments are closed.