Thursday, September 20, 2018
Public safety

Lawsuit seeks release of 911 calls from Pulse nightclub mass shooting

ORLANDO — Attorneys for almost two dozen media groups are arguing in federal court in Florida that a lawsuit demanding the release of 911 calls involving the mass shooting at Pulse nightclub in Orlando should be moved back to state court.

Attorneys for the Associated Press, CNN, the New York Times and other media groups are arguing Thursday that the case doesn't belong in federal court.

The case pits the city of Orlando against media companies seeking the release of recordings of dozens of 911 calls as well as communications between gunman Omar Mateen and the Orlando Police Department. Mateen was killed by police early June 12 after a lengthy standoff in the shooting that killed 49 people and wounded 53 others.

The media groups argue that the recordings will help the public evaluate the police response to the worst mass shooting in modern U.S. history.

The city, which is the custodian of the recordings, claims the recordings are exempt under Florida public records law and that the FBI insists releasing them may disrupt the ongoing investigation.

The media groups filed a complaint in state court about 10 days after the shooting, seeking the release of the recordings. Less than hour later, the city filed a complaint in state court, asking that the recordings be declared exempt from public records law.

In a legal maneuver, the city filed an amended lawsuit, naming the U.S. Department of Justice as a defendant, and DOJ attorneys moved for the case to be transferred to federal court where Florida's Public Records Act isn't applicable.

In court papers, the Department of Justice argues the recordings are federal records and not subject to Florida's public records law.

The media companies argue that the Department of Justice is "one of perhaps many parties standing on the sidelines" and aren't a proper party to the lawsuit.

"This case is a dispute solely between the news media and the city," the media groups said in court papers.

Comments
Busted, baby: Rapper Plies arrested at Tampa International Airport

Busted, baby: Rapper Plies arrested at Tampa International Airport

TAMPA — The rapper Plies, aka Algernod Lanier Washington, was arrested at Tampa International Airport on Wednesday after authorities say a gun was found in his carry-on bag.The 42-year-old Wesley Chapel resident faces a charge of carrying a concealed...
Updated: 7 hours ago
Hillsborough Sheriff’s Office launches Facebook, Twitter accounts in Spanish

Hillsborough Sheriff’s Office launches Facebook, Twitter accounts in Spanish

TAMPA — The Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office now has Facebook and Twitter accounts in Spanish.The agency celebrated the official launch of the accounts on Wednesday. Sheriff Chad Chronister said the goal is to connect with an increasing number of...
Updated: 9 hours ago
Ninety animals seized Tuesday in Hernando County cruelty case

Ninety animals seized Tuesday in Hernando County cruelty case

BROOKSVILLE — Hernando sheriff’s deputies seized 90 animals on Tuesday and arrested a woman on animal cruelty and animal mistreatment charges after people called with concerns about an ill horse.Crystal Robin Crawford, 46, was arrested but not taken ...
Updated: 10 hours ago
Cops question viral video about human trafficking at Pinellas Publix

Cops question viral video about human trafficking at Pinellas Publix

The Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office is setting the record straight about a viral Facebook video posted by a Dunedin woman who claimed she almost fell victim to human trafficking. Lynne Knowles took to Facebook to share what happened to her at the Pu...
Published: 09/19/18
Pasco man taken down by K9 after attempting to kidnap infant girl, putting schools on lockdown

Pasco man taken down by K9 after attempting to kidnap infant girl, putting schools on lockdown

NEW PORT RICHEY — A few hours before he was lying on his back in the woods, shirtless with a dog’s jaws clamped around his arm, Kevin Wilson climbed into a second-story window and tried to kidnap a 6-month-old baby girl, according to the ...
Published: 09/19/18
Fate of FEMA leader Brock Long in doubt as Florence cleanup continues

Fate of FEMA leader Brock Long in doubt as Florence cleanup continues

WASHINGTON — While Hurricane Florence barreled through the Carolinas, a different type of storm was brewing within the federal disaster relief agency tasked with responding to the fallout.The fate of Brock Long, the head of the Federal Emergen...
Published: 09/19/18
Largo names new fire chief

Largo names new fire chief

LARGO — After two nationwide searches that produced 119 applicants, City Manager Henry Schubert didn’t have to look far to find his new fire chief.Schubert announced recently that Chad Pittman, deputy chief of Palm Harbor Fire Rescue, w...
Published: 09/19/18
Police release name of man shot Tuesday at Tampa apartment complex

Police release name of man shot Tuesday at Tampa apartment complex

TAMPA — An 18-year-old man was critically injured Tuesday when he was shot at an apartment complex in northeast Tampa.Officers responded about 2:30 a.m. to a call about an unknown emergency at the Silver Oaks Apartments, 4200 Kenneth Court, Ta...
Published: 09/18/18
Fatal punch on Gandy median leads to manslaughter charge in Tampa muralist’s death

Fatal punch on Gandy median leads to manslaughter charge in Tampa muralist’s death

TAMPA — Police are bringing manslaughter charges against a Tampa man accused of throwing a fatal punch last April at well-known local muralist Matt Callahan.The suspect, 34-year-old Keith Mauga of Tampa, already is serving five years for aggravated b...
Published: 09/18/18
Police: Tarpon Springs man killed crossing road in wheelchair

Police: Tarpon Springs man killed crossing road in wheelchair

TARPON SPRINGS — A 58-year-old man was killed Monday after a car struck him as he was crossing the road in a wheelchair.According to Tarpon Springs police, Jon Pendleton, operating a manual wheelchair, started to cross U.S. 19 near Martin Luther King...
Published: 09/18/18