A judge ruled that official reports written whenever a New York City police officer fired at a civilian in the last 13 years must be turned over to the New York Civil Liberties Union, the new York Times reports. The ruling, unless blocked by an appellate court, means that a trove of internal police documents could soon be thrust into public view. The ruling by judge Emily Goodman gives police officials 60 days to turn over two sets of the documents for each shooting dating back to 1997 — a period covering roughly 850 shootings.
The ruling could provide the public new details about such recent police scandals as the 2006 shooting death of Sean Bell and the 1999 killing of Amadou Diallo. “There are going to be a lot of big cases in these reports,” said Christopher Dunn of the civil liberties group, who said he would make the reports public. “There will also be a lot of cases nobody ever heard of.” Police spokesman Paul Browne said, “These are interim reports that shouldn't be made public for reasons that have been argued in the case, and especially considering the fact that our annual firearms report is already so comprehensive and that we already provide regular press briefings after each police-involved shooting.”