Friday, December 15, 2017

UPDATE: Sheriff's Office blocks reporter, Indy responds via attorney

Posted By on Fri, Dec 15, 2017 at 4:43 PM

click to enlarge Sheriff Bill Elder - FILE
  • FILE
  • Sheriff Bill Elder
UPDATE: In a Dec. 15 letter to Steve Zansberg, the attorney representing the Indy, Senior Assistant County Attorney Elizabeth Kirkman says the sheriff has agreed to add my name (Pam Zubeck) to answers to questions I pose.

Specifically, Kirkman writes, "Sheriff Elder asserts that he has not denied the public information by providing answers to the requests via her editor. He is willing to add her name to the answers, but will continue to provide the editor's name, as a safeguard in dissemination of information."

Kirkman also says she disagrees that my rights were violated by the sheriff's refusal to respond directly to me in response to my questions and open-records requests.

—————-ORIGINAL POST 4:55 P.M. WEDNESDAY, DEC. 13, 2017———————-

After El Paso County Sheriff Bill Elder conducted a bizarre news conference on Nov. 8 to hammer the Independent and its senior reporter, yours truly, his office cut off communications with me. Any requests I made, including for open public records made according to law, have since been answered to the Indy's editor, Matthew Schniper.

What triggered Elder's ire was this story.

But First Amendment attorney Steve Zansberg of Denver says the Sheriff's Office's response doesn't square with the law. Zansberg, on the Indy's behalf, wrote a letter delivered today, Dec. 13, to Elder saying his office "has denied Ms. Zubeck's rights, available to any other member of the public, in retaliation for her exercising her rights as a journalist."

Zansberg cites various authorities in making his point, and closes with:

I trust that upon review of the above authorities, and after consulting the County Attorney, you will immediately discontinue the practice of discriminating against Ms. Zubeck in retaliation for her editorial news coverage of your office, and will provide her equal access to your office's records as you provide to any other member of the public.
Read the letter in full here:
I have asked Elder's office for a comment and will update if and when I hear something.

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