Last week we learned about a car crash involving Marion County Sheriff Officer Brian Davis, 45, and Payton Rodgers, 18, that happened May 11.
Indiana State Police, that was investigating the crash, said Davis had his lights and sirens on while responding to help another officer with a traffic stop when the accident happened.
Initial crash reports state that Rogers pulled into the path of Davis’ patrol car and that he had the right-of-way with a green traffic light since he activated the opticom system, which suspends the normal traffic light cycles to give emergency vehicles a way to avoid waiting for traffic.
Rogers was pronounced dead at the scene.
” Rogers was an honor roll student who completed 21 college credits. She wanted to be a forensic pathologist and was set to graduate high school in a few weeks,” according to The Denver Channel.
Paytons mother, Brandy Rogers, has attempted multiple times to obtain copies of the dashcam footage from Davis patrol car and has failed to get copies as she believes her daughter had the right-of-way and had the green light.
Marion County Sheriff’s Department did allow Roger to watch the footage but not obtain copies of it. Roger took to her Facebook stating that she did not hear any sirens in the video but actually heard the engine rev.
The Chronicle Tribune was able to watch the video as well and confirmed that the officer increased his speed,
“The video shows that Davis picked up speed substantially as he proceeded down Third Street and was traveling at a high rate of speed as he entered the intersection, where his car pinned Rogers’ car to the building on the southwest corner as she attempted to cross Third Street.
ISP Public Information Officer Tony Slocum said state investigators had determined the speed of the officer’s vehicle at the time of the crash using black box records but said he could not release the speed because it was contained in a protected case report.”
She is not the only one that has attempted to get copies and been denied. Independent journalist and activist Chris Crepeau reached out to Public Information Officer Stephen Dorsey in attempts to obtain copies as well.
His request was redirected to Corporate Counsel Thomas Hunt and denied.
When denied he reached out to PINAC News forwarding the denials.
The first denial was due to it being to broad where Hunt cited Indiana Code Sec. 5-14-3-3(a)(1) and Anderson v. Huntington County Board of Commissioners
When Crepeau changed his request to a more specific request he was denied again stating he was told that the department does not have to give physical copies.
After hearing this PINAC reached out to PIO Dorsey and we were redirected to Hunt.
We requested specifically just the dashcam footage and were denied.
We then cited the same exact law Hunt cited to Crepeau but a different section.
IC 5-14-3-3 (b) states the following…
“(b) A public agency may not deny or interfere with the exercise
of the right stated in subsection (a). Within a reasonable time after
the request is received by the agency, the public agency shall either:
(1) provide the requested copies to the person making the
(2) allow the person to make copies:
(A) on the agency’s equipment; or
(B) on the person’s own equipment.
(c) Notwithstanding subsections (a) and (b), a public agency may
or may not do the following:
(1) In accordance with a contract described in section 3.5 of this
chapter, permit a person to inspect and copy through the use of
enhanced access public records containing information owned
by or entrusted to the public agency.
(2) Permit a governmental entity to use an electronic device to
inspect and copy public records containing information owned
by or entrusted to the public agency.”
“There is one specifically for law enforcement videos. I’ve left for the weekend so I can’t get you the cite until I get back Monday.”
On June 28, Roger posted on her Facebook account that her lawyer was finally able to obtain copies of the dashcam footage.
When Marion Police Chief Angela Haley was asked why there was no audio in the footage she said that she wasn’t sure why sirens could not be heard in the video, which goes against the initial reports that the sirens were on.
Once back in office, Hunt did reach back out to Photography Is Not A Crime and cited that he was using IC 5-14-3-5. The only issue with that is, that section of the statue is for: Information relating to arrest or summons;jailed persons; agency records.
Since the driver of the car died no one was jailed. If Hunt is stating that it is due to agency records, that statue ends with:
“The information required in this subsection shall be made available for inspection and copying in compliance with this chapter. The record containing the information must be created not later than twenty-four (24) hours after the suspected crime, accident, or complaint has been reported to the agency.”
It is clear that Hunt is trying really hard to keep this under the covers of national attention and with that in mind, what else is being shielded about the department by Hunt?