February 08, 2004

Denial Of Public Records In Florida

staugustine.com: Local News: Public records audit: Some records requests met with suspicion and threats 02/07/04 via Boingboing

Frightening: people getting threatened and harrassed over asking for public records.

Here's a quote:

Roger Desjarlais, the Broward County administrator, threatened a volunteer by saying, "I can make your life very difficult."

After insisting that the volunteer give his name, Desjarlais used the Internet to identify the volunteer, find his cell phone number and call him after work hours.

In an interview after the audit, Desjarlais denied that he threatened or tried to intimidate the volunteer, who is a reporter with SNN-Channel 6 in Sarasota.

Desjarlais defended his actions, saying that the volunteer raised suspicion when he declined to explain who he was. Officials across the state had similar misgivings about volunteers who came into their offices.

They cited a number of arbitrary reasons for their suspicions, including the volunteers' hair length, casual dress and, in one case, "the look in his eyes."

I have to say, this is a little scary. If nothing else, it seems a little like the '60s, where anything that didn't fit the mold was considered "scary". Frightening that some people still believe dress, haircut and "eyes", I guess, allow you to deny someone their rights.

Posted by Ted Stevko at February 8, 2004 12:03 PM | TrackBack