Judge orders state police to provide more docs to newspapers

May 31, 2022 GMT

BANGOR, Maine (AP) — Maine State Police must turn over additional disciplinary records detailing misconduct by troopers to the state’s two biggest newspapers, a judge ruled.

State Police must also search out and turn over missing disciplinary records it failed to provide to the Portland Press Herald and Bangor Daily News under the Maine Freedom of Access Act.

The newspapers sued Maine State Police for withholding information about misconduct by troopers.

Records of final discipline are public record, but state police redacted portions of the final disciplinary decisions. Many of of the 22 disciplinary cases were so heavily redacted that there was no meaningful description of what led to the discipline, the newspapers said.

The judge ordered unredacted documents to be released, although the judge sided with the state police on some of the redactions.

The newspapers’ previous reporting on the disciplinary actions showed a secretive process in which misconduct records are only briefly available to the public before they are destroyed.