Sanford faces lawsuit over records in Trayvon Martin shooting - New York News

Sanford faces lawsuit over handling of records in Trayvon Martin shooting

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An attorney has filed a lawsuit against Sanford, claiming the city has not responded to a request for records regarding the investigation into the shooting of Trayvon Martin by neighborhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman.

"This complaint is about records that belong to the State of Florida," said attorney Lawerence Walters. He is suing the city on behalf of political watchdog Charles Grapski. "He was insisting that the City of Sanford do the right thing and produce the records."

Walters said his client thinks there's a good reason for the delay. "He believes there are efforts to cover up and dole out information in pieces to certain people at certain times, which is not consistent with Florida public records law."

Sanford City Attorney Lonnie Groot said his staff is doing their best to handle all the requests. He said they have around 300 records requests which they are trying to meet in a timely manner.

"I'm sure there's frustrations from those requesting documents, videos, but this is one of the most complicated public records situations I've seen in local government."

He said the city has created a joint information center which has three people working on public information requests.

"These are issues in the public dialogue right now, not six months from now," said Walters. "These records are time sensitive and should have been produced long ago."

Walters believes that the city should make changes to handle the requests. It's already something the Groot said is under consideration. "The city is debating many things right now in terms of additional personnel, software technology."

Walters said Grapski plans to release any information he gets to the public, so they can come to their own conclusions in this controversial case. "He has an academic and political interest, but he's not trying to sway public opinion one way or another."

Presently, Sanford is around two months behind on requests for records. Several media outlets on Wednesday filed documents opposing a motion to seal documents in the case.

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