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Sunday, November 02, 2008
 
Police Protection from Invasion of Privacy by the Press

In its relentless pursuit to verify whether it was former Knicks coach Isiah Thomas who overdosed on sleeping pills on Oct. 23 in the privacy of his home located in the Town of Harrison, New York, the press finally obtained the police report last Thursday evening. Interestingly, the patient's name was redacted in the police report as well as the name of the person who placed the 911 call. The report states that a police officer said he went to Thomas' home around midnight Oct. 23 in response to a report of "(blank) not breathing." It further states, "Upon my arrival I assisted (another officer) who was administering O2 to (blank) lying on the kitchen floor."

While the government sometimes withholds the names of individuals and other information for investigatory purposes, in this situation the Town of Harrison cited "unwanted invasion of personal privacy" as the reason for redacting the names from the police report. On the one hand, I applaud the efforts of the township to protect an individual's personal privacy because it knows all too well that the press simply won't. On the other hand, it seems sort of ironic that we have to actually rely on the government to protect citizens from an invasion of privacy by a distrustful press. As the press continues to neglect privacy in the balance against what it deems to be newsworthy, perhaps omitting pertinent information and redacting names from police reports will be a growing trend.





3 Comments:

"As the press continues to neglect privacy in the balance against what it deems to be newsworthy, perhaps omitting pertinent information and redacting names from police reports will be a growing trend.

Yeah. I'll believe that one the day The Smoking Gun starts having to posting reports of other 47-year-olds from Harrison (or Rye or even New Rochelle or Dubuque) whose privacy is protected.

Blogger Ken Houghton -- 11/02/2008 12:07 PM  


Are the permitted to redact information for that purpose? I think they'd have a hard case if the media challenged it in court.

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