OHP officials forced to release traffic arrest videotapes

Thursday, March 3rd 2005, 6:27 am
By: News On 6

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) -- The Oklahoma Highway Patrol can no longer keep videotapes of traffic arrests secret.

Oklahoma City attorney Stephen -G- Fabian Junior sued the Oklahoma Department of Public Safety in January after officials refused to release a videotape of a drunken-driving arrest.

Officials said Fabian had to get the driver's written consent first.

Oklahoma County District Judge Noma Gurich ruled last week that such a requirement is unconstitutional.

Fabian used the state Open Records Act to gather hundreds of videotapes from police departments and the patrol.

He says the tapes are important to a wrongly accused citizen because he's found that some officers make up evidence and exaggerate their testimony about events.

DPS officials argued that they were trying to prevent identity theft, and that the videotape had personal information that must be kept private under federal law.