St. Paul police chief subpoenaed journo's records to ID source of public document
A Minnesota police chief is defending his decision to subpoena the phone records of a TV reporter in order to identify the official who gave the journalist a copy of a public record.
According to the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, both the chief and the source knew all along that the document in question, an arrest report, was a public record.
[St. Paul police chief John] Harrington told the station that the investigation involving the phone records was conducted out of concern for "data privacy," although he did not explain what privacy interests were involved in release of a public record. He wouldn't tell the station who authorized the subpoena or what time period the records covered.
[KMSP-TV reporter Tom Lyden] said in a report aired on his station that his concern is about what police are doing with all the records they now possess.
"In obtaining my phone records they basically opened up my reporter's notebook," Lyden said in the KMSP report. "They can match up every source that I have had. It is awful." [RCFP]
Police Chief John Harrington should be fired for abuse of power.