Toledo Mayor Mike Bell
The Bell administration asked the 6th District Court of Appeals for more time to file an appeal regarding the court’s 2-1 decision that ordered the city to release a police department gang-turf map to The Blade within 10 days.
Law Director Adam Loukx filed the appeal on Monday. The court has not yet ruled.
In a 2-1 decision dated July 12, the appellate court in Toledo concluded the gang map is not exempt from disclosure under Ohio public-records law and ordered the city to turn it over within 10 days.
The 10 days expired on Monday — the same day the city filed its motion for an extension.
In his motion, Mr. Loukx said he did not have enough time to write an appeal and that Ohio law allows 45 days to file an appeal. Mr. Loukx pointed out that he was on paternity leave from July 11 to July 22.
The Toledo Police Department had refused the newspaper’s July, 2012, request for a copy of the map on the grounds that the map “is a confidential law-enforcement investigatory record,” protected under state law, the release of which could interfere with investigatory efforts and thus is protected under the state law.
Under Ohio public-records law, confidential law-enforcement investigatory records are exempt from disclosure. But in this case, the court held that the gang map did not reveal any protected investigatory technique or procedure, and it was not created as a work product for a pending or highly probable criminal prosecution.
The court relied heavily on testimony from Toledo police Officer William Noon, a member of the department’s Gang Task Force, who said he created the map based on information from confidential informants, surveillance, crime reports, field interviews, and other investigative work.
“Other than revealing that the police department knows where the gangs operate, Officer Noon stated that nothing on the map identifies any location that the Toledo Police Department is surveilling,” stated the opinion written by Judge Mark Pietrykowski. “Accordingly, it is undisputed from the record that release of the map would not reveal any specific confidential investigatory technique or procedure.”
In late April, The Blade published its own gang map, created with the assistance of active and former gang members, as part of a four-day series of stories.