MOBILE, ALA. (WALA)- The Alabama Supreme Court rejected a request from the Lagniappe in Mobile, which wanted Baldwin County Sheriff Huey Hoss Mack to release all the details, about a 2017 traffic stop and fatal shooting, to the public.
Alabama Chief Justice Tom Parker disagreed with the majority saying it's a dangerous precedent.
Lagniappe Co-Publisher, Rob Holbert said, "It's important for us to be able to see these things because we as the public needs to know that things are being handled properly."
The incident in question started out with deputies responding to a single vehicle accident and ended with a deputy shooting and killing Jonathan Victor after he refused to obey their commands.
A grand jury declined to indict the officer who fired his gun at Victor on any criminal charges.
The justices said quote, "All materials requested by Lagniappe are related to the incident regarding Cpl. Hunady, which was the subject of a criminal investigation. The very wording of Lagniappe's request, seeking all the "records related to the shooting" seeks such investigative material....Thus, the investigative-privilege exception applies."
Chief Justice Parker disagreed with the ruling, "Hidden now from the public eye are body-cam videos, dashcam videos, 9-1-1 recordings, and anything else that is remotely connected to a crime or even potential crime. After today, as to law-enforcement agencies at least, the statute might as well be titled the Closed Records Act."
"So, anytime we're asking for these body cam camera footage, we're all paying for it, the taxpayers pay billions of dollars to have cameras put on that is now, a precedent was set today saying that you can't get any of that anymore. And that, that's a dangerous precedent," said Holbert.
You may remember, after the 2016 rivalry game between Murphy and McGill-Toolen High Schools, Mobile police pepper sprayed McGill students while painting the cannon.
In 2016, Meredith corporation, the owner of WALA FOX10 News, on behalf of its local journalists, filed suit against the city seeking release of the video, because FOX10 News believes the public has a right to see body camera videos that are paid for with tax dollars.
A judge ruled in favor of FOX10 News and Mobile Police released it.
Holbert said, "If people like us, newspapers and TV stations are unable to look at things and say something here something doesn't really look right, Let us look at this and see what it says and they say now you can't see it. You're you really have no recourse."
Holbert and Chief Justice Parker said the Alabama legislature will likely have to take up this issue.