Duluth PD Under Scrutiny for Delayed Incident Report Release

By KBJR News 1

August 24, 2012 Updated Aug 24, 2012 at 7:09 PM CDT

Duluth, MN (Northland's NewsCenter) -The Duluth Police Department is under scrutiny for its handling of the investigation into the police stop on Thompson Hill involving State Representative Kerry Gauthier.

Rep. Gauthier has been at the center of a sex scandal involving a 17-year-old boy. The incident eventually led to the lawmaker to withdraw from the race for his House 7B seat.

A Minnesota House Subcommittee is now investigating whether Duluth police violated the state's Data Practices Act when it refused to release police reports about the sexual encounter when the Duluth News Tribune asked for them.

Duluth News Tribune Editor, Robin Washington, spoke with Michelle Lee during the KBJR 6 & Range 11 News at Five on Friday about the newspaper's attempts to get a hold of the requested documents. (See video)

The Duluth Police Department defends its actions involving the delayed release of the incident report involving Representative Kerry Gauthier.

Chief Gordon Ramsay told the Northland's NewsCenter's Kevin Jacobsen his staff went by the book in this case.

Chief Ramsay said things have spiraled out of control since the Duluth News Tribune first contacted the department about the July 22nd incident on Thompson Hill.

The Chief says the report was not released when requested by the newspaper because it contained criminal data that was still part of an active investigation.

That isn't sitting well with Republican State Representative Peggy Scott who sent a letter to the chief saying it appears the department "violated the law to avoid disclosing public data."

The Lawmaker goes on to say there is concern the case was kept as "high profile" and was kept separate from others.

The Chief says regardless, it's the department's understanding that criminal data, in an active criminal investigation, is not public.

" The delay in the release of the reports were because the case was still active and had nothing to do with a team protected sensitive case, nothing," Chief Ramsay said.

The Chief added no cases are shut out to the public. He said there is a need to have certain cases available only on a need to know basis, to protect victims, witnesses and even those accused until the case is complete.

Kevin Jacobsen
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