Old Saybrook fights publication of cop’s exit interview that ‘assaults police chief’s reputation’ – New Haven Register | Region & Cash

The interview reportedly includes negative comments about Police Chief Michael Spera.

To justify the document’s withholding, the city previously cited a law that exempts “employee or medical records and similar records, the disclosure of which would constitute an invasion of privacy” from the Freedom of Information Act.

Release of the interview “would constitute an invasion of privacy” because it “assaults the police chief’s reputation” and “could be harmful to the police chief or the police department,” attorney Pat McHale told FOIC at its July 13 meeting. A recording of this is available on the state website.

But the commission eventually agreed to hearing officer Zack Hyde’s recommendation to order the record’s release. Hyde found that the exception did not apply because the information contained in the interview was a matter of public interest and, according to his report, was “not highly offensive to a reasonable person”.

The case stems from a complaint filed with the Commission last year by former Old Saybrook Police Officer Justin Hanna.

After leaving the Old Saybrook Police Department, Hanna conducted an exit interview in which he shared his thoughts on his employment there.

But when Hanna, who was not available for comment Monday, tried to get a copy of the interview, the city wouldn’t release it. He eventually approached the FOIC to appeal the denial.

The FOIC then used a standard established by a state Supreme Court decision known as Perkins v. Freedom of Information Commission, to rule that the recording did not qualify for the privacy invasion exception.

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