The city of Orlando wants the court to help determine how to handle the unreleased portions of 911 emergency communications involving the June 12 massacre at the Pulse nightclub.
The city filed a lawsuit Thursday in the Ninth Judicial Circuit — the Associated Press is named as defendant — that asks the court to determine what portions of the unreleased calls can remain exempt under the state public records law. The city’s action comes as multiple media outlets have also gone to court, arguing the records should be released to help determine “how first responders and police reacted during the most critical phases of this incredible tragedy.”
Earlier this week, U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch drew criticism for releasing edited transcripts of some of the 911 calls made by shooter Omar Mateen during his attack on the gay nightclub. In a press release announcing the city’s lawsuit, Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer said the city is seeking guidance to make sure it is complying with Florida’s broad open-records laws. “It is important that we are completely open with the community about what happened that night at Pulse,” Dyer said. “We support the FBI’s commitment not to compromise the integrity of the investigation, but we must balance that with our responsibility to be transparent with the Orlando community and comply with state and federal laws.”
The city notes in its lawsuit that the shooting remains an active criminal investigation and that “there is doubt” about the defendant’s rights to the records under state law. The city’s lawsuit also notes that the unreleased recordings are believed to depict “the killing of persons,” “may include the sound of gunfire, victims voices and the suffering,” and that officials haven’t released those portions “out of respect for the Pulse shooting victims and their families.”–News Service of Florida