In a written opinion issued on January 12, 2015 Bergen County Assignment Judge Peter E. Doyne ordered that the State of New Jersey and several townships comply with public records requests made by North Jersey Media Group, the owner of The Record newspaper, concerning an incident that resulted in police officers shooting and killing an African American suspected of participating in vehicle theft and eluding police. North Jersey Media Group, Inc. v. Township of Lyndhurst, et al., Superior Court of New Jersey, Law Division, Docket No.: BER-L19048-14.
While Judge Doyne recognized the heightened scrutiny of police actions due to recent tragic events that transpired in Ferguson, Missouri, New York City, and elsewhere, resulting in the deaths of African American men, Judge Doyne concluded that New Jersey’s Open Public Records Act (“OPRA”) and New Jersey common law mandate disclosure of the government records sought by North Jersey Media. Accordingly, Judge Doyne ordered the defendants to release the requested information. In addition, Judge Doyne determined that North Jersey Media is entitled to attorney’s fees in an amount to be determined at a later date.