The Lexington Division of Police violated Kentucky's Open Records Act in January when it required a man seeking records about the 2010 shooting of a dog to provide his address, the state Office of Attorney General has ruled.
Tyler Fryman, who lives in Bourbon County, appealed to the attorney general's office after police required Fryman to provide his address before fulfilling his request for documents related to the shooting by Lexington police officer Aaron Greenleaf. The Open Records Act does not require a person to provide an address unless they want the documents mailed to them.
Greenleaf shot the dog six times after it bit him as he ran through the backyard of a Lexington home while pursuing a suspect on foot. The bite did not draw blood and Greenleaf was not hospitalized. Police defended the officer's decision at the time, saying that he did not violate any policy and that he had the right to be in the backyard because he was pursuing a suspect.
Fryman told the Herald-Leader on Monday that he requested the documents because he was interested to know what happened in the case. Fryman said he regularly makes requests for documents — about one a day — from various government agencies.
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The city told attorney general investigators that the police department "could not be sure if and when Mr. Fryman would show up at police headquarters, so without a valid address, a response could not be given in three business days."
To comply with the Open Records Act, public offices must respond to requests within three business days.
Fryman said there was no reason for the police to ask for his address, considering that he was able and willing to come to Lexington to review the documents.
"What if you were homeless?" Fryman asked. "Does a homeless person not have the same rights ... to open records?"
Susan Straub, a city spokeswoman, declined to comment on the attorney general's decision, which carries the weight of law unless appealed in Fayette Circuit Court.
Fryman also alleged that police made him pay for the documents even though he requested to view them in police headquarters. State law allows a person to review documents without paying for them. If a copy is requested, the cost is 10 cents a page.
The attorney general ruled that police did not violate this portion of the Open Records Act, citing a lack of evidence.
Police charged a fee for copying the documents, and Fryman left the office with the records, according to the attorney general's office.
Police told state investigators that "it is believed" Fryman paid for the copies without saying that he preferred to view them in the office.
Fryman said Monday that police knew he wanted to view the documents in the police station but that a police employee refused to give him the documents without paying.