Anytime police fatally shoot someone, it’s a horrible situation.
Such cases should be as transparent as possible so the public knows how the suspect acted and if lethal force was justified.
But the Adams County Sheriff’s Office is dismissing transparency and ignoring public disclosure laws by refusing to release the name of a man who was fatally shot this week during a suspected DUI stop.
We were told by a department spokesperson the man’s family requested his name not be released.
If this is true, I certainly recognize and acknowledge the family’s grief. It must be a horrible situation for them and of course they wouldn’t want their love one’s name all over the news. Who would?
However one family’s wishes are not above the law and neither is the Adams County Sheriff’s Department. I hope that doesn’t sound callous.
While the shooting may be justified, not releasing the man’s name breeds an extraordinary amount of suspicion.
Was this man related to someone in the Sheriff’s department?
Does the family have political connections?
Why is the department treating this case differently?
Did the family really make this request to the department?
Transparency laws exist for a reason so reporters like me can gather information to hold agencies accountable for their actions.
The man’s name is needed to research autopsy records and his background.
Perhaps he was an upstanding citizen who never had any sort of trouble with police the past.
When an agency blatantly ignores these laws with arbitrary decisions like this, there is an inherent problem.
Everyone should be treated the same and for some reason Adams County is making a highly suspicious exception.