Years before Ferguson erupted in the summer of 2014, the St. Louis NAACP had been receiving reports of corruption and abusive policing in St. Louis County municipalities and reached out to the American Civil Liberties Union for help. Today, the ACLU of Missouri filed a lawsuit against Pine Lawn on behalf of Adrian Wright, who was falsely arrested.
Wright was critical of former Pine Lawn Mayor Sylvester Caldwell, who used Wright’s mug shot in campaign literature to discredit his endorsement of Caldwell’s opponent for mayor. “I was wrongly accused of running a stop sign and failing to yield to a fictional emergency vehicle, threatened with a taser and arrested by a Pine Lawn police officer,” said Wright, an 80-year-old who was the Pine Lawn mayor before Caldwell.
Today, the Missouri Court of Appeals agreed that the public has a right to review records related to the 2006 World Series ticket-scalping scandal. The court upheld the trial court’s ruling that police officers could not invoke a right to privacy as a means to conceal documents which pertain to misconduct while performing their official duties.
The Court ruled that documents the officers sought to hide from the public are exactly the type of information the Sunshine Law was intended to cover. Once again, the police department has been ordered to release all of the records the ACLU requested back in 2007.