Monday, June 1, 2015

New OPRA suit seeks video of fatal Perth Amboy police shooting.

On June 1, 2015, Clinton lawyer Walter M. Luers filed an Open Public Records Act (OPRA) lawsuit seeking a copy of a security video showing of Perth Amboy police officers fatally shooting a man on December 4, 2013.  Luers' client is John Schmidt, an open government activists, who requested a copy of the video from the Middlesex County Prosecutor's Office (MCPO) on April 14, 2015.  On April 15, 2015, James E. O'Neill, the MCPO's Public Information Officer, denied Schmidts request claiming that the video is exempt as a "criminal investigatory record."

At issue is a December 4, 2013, 1:20 p.m. fatal shooting of Dixon Rodriguez, 32, by Perth Amboy Police Officers Rafael A. Puntiel and Gina Fontan.   According to the officers, Rodriguez attacked Fontan with a knife. The MCPO later cleared both officers, claiming that a video, taken from a surveillance camera at a nearby grocery store, supported the officers' version of the shooting.  Dixon's family filed a lawsuit in 2014 claiming that police planted the knife on Dixon's body.

Schmidt's lawsuit, brief and other filings are on-line here.  A court date has not yet been scheduled.

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