Editorial roundup

The Cincinnati Enquirer, Dec. 2

To watch the cruiser dash-cam video of Chicago police killing a 17-year-old is to know something wrong happened that evening. Yet officials fought the video’s release for 13 months before losing a court battle over it. They then condemned and indicted the officer on a first-degree murder charge the same day the video was released to the public…

Cincinnati and Ohio as a whole must ensure our law enforcement officials – police and prosecutors – are above such suspicion. Police video, captured by either cruiser or body cameras, is a public record and must be promptly released to the public. Prosecutors and police should not get to decide if and when the public will see the truth…

Open access to police video strengthens trust between the public and police departments, its ready availability a sign of accountability and good faith. When police or prosecutors decide to withhold certain video footage, as happened in Chicago, they endanger the public’s trust. Uncertainty breeds mistrust. Mistrust snaps crucial ties among police, prosecutors and the communities they serve….

Police are public servants. The public has the right to know what its police force is doing, so the public must have prompt and ready access to video that reveals in close detail the actions of law enforcement. Such access will strengthen its faith in those who ensure its law and order. Blocking or delaying access to police video erodes public trust.

Online: http://cin.ci/1lIW45G

The Lima News, Dec. 5

Government workers everywhere should be observing closely a federal case involving Wapakoneta.

Last month, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth District rejected a legal filing by Fire Chief Kendall Krites and Safety Services Director William Rains in Wapakoneta, seeking to throw out a First Amendment retaliation claim by Tom Stinebaugh, a former Wapakoneta fire captain.

Stinebaugh sued the city, claiming he was unfairly terminated for voicing his opposition to three council members about Krites’ plans to purchase a replacement firetruck. In court documents, Krites blames the demotion and eventual firing after the January 2012 incident on his disobeying department rules.

The case will continue, the judges ruled …

We always urge government bodies to be vigilant in following the rules. We beg them to err on the side of sunshine, so the taxpayers can see what they’re doing and understand why.

Cases like this remind you of the dangers of anything that could even be perceived as persecuting someone who disagreed with you.

The appellate court’s decision is a victory for people in favor of free speech.

We need people voicing their opinion, especially when they disagree with the people in charge. Working for a governmental organization shouldn’t silence you from saying what you think is right or wrong. It’s up to the people elected to make the decision whether to heed your advice or not, not up to a supervisor to try to silence you…

Online: http://bit.ly/1lJ136g