DAN DEITZ and ELLEN DEITZ TUCKER v. CITY OF BELMONT
Civil Summons (Aug. 28, 2015)
Plaintiffs’ Complaint (Aug. 28, 2015)
Certificate of Service (Sept. 2, 2015)
Press Release (Sept. 2, 2015)
Defendants’ Answer (Oct. 30, 2015)
Designation of Mediator in Superior Court Civil Action (Jan. 8, 2016)
Report of Mediator in Superior Court Civil Action (March 3, 2016)
Plaintiffs’ Motion for Summary Judgment (March 14, 2016)
Plaintiffs’ Notice of Hearing (March 23, 2016)
Defendants’ Notice of Hearing (May 4, 2016)
Plaintiffs’ Memorandum Supporting Summary Judgment (May 6, 2016)
Gaston County Superior Court Civil Calendar (May 10, 2016)
Plaintiffs’ Reply Memorandum (May 13, 2016)
Correspondence from Defendants to Hon. Judge Carla Archie (May 19, 2016)
The Civitas Institute Center for Law and Freedom (CLF) has filed suit against the City of Belmont, alleging violations of state public records law. The suit, filed on behalf of two individual plaintiffs, seeks to clarify the extent to which the city can refuse to release the results of a third-party investigation into its police department.
Plaintiffs Dan Deitz and Ellen Deitz Tucker filed a public records request with the city asking to see the results of an investigation into the Belmont Police Department. The siblings hoped that the investigation would shed light on the death of their sister, Donna Deitz, who was an innocent bystander killed by a motorist fleeing city police officers in 2012.
Belmont issued a blanket denial of the public records request, citing N.C. Gen. Stat. § 160A-168. That statute provides that certain personnel records are not subject to North Carolina’s public records law, and cannot be disclosed by cities.
The investigation was conducted by the U.S. ISS Agency of Huntersville. Thus far the city has refused to release any portion of the resulting report. Deitz and Tucker had been seeking access to the report for months before resorting to a lawsuit. The suit is just one part of their overall effort to find answers following their sister Donna’s death in 2012.
The parties argued the case on May 17, 2016 in Gaston County Superior Court. Judge Carla Archie is currently reviewing the disputed records to decide what is and is not public.