MADISON, Wis. (CN) – The Associated Press is fighting to obtain a video showing a stinger grenade exploding in an inmate’s cell. The news agency claims in Dane County Court that the Wisconsin Department of Corrections’ refusal to release the tape violates the state’s open records law.
The department refused the AP’s request for the video on July 29, saying the tape might highlight limitations of the prison’s surveillance system and jeopardize safety.
The AP and reporter Ryan Foley say the 2005 video, taken by a guard with a hand-held camera and not a surveillance camera, doesn’t reveal any gaps in security. They also claim the public’s right to see the tape is greater than the department’s reasons for keeping it sealed.
Raynard Jackson was subdued by the stinger grenade by guards who wanted to strip search him. The grenade, used mostly outdoors for crowd control, “creates a bright flash, emits a loud blast accompanied by smoke and fires 180 rubber balls in a 50-foot radius,” the lawsuit states.
Jackson sued, claiming using the grenade was excessive force, and won a $49,000 settlement in July.
Jackson was doing time for possessing a gun as a felon, the AP reported. Police say they confiscated a pistol after a foot chase.
An appeals court cited potential police misconduct in overturning his conviction in July, but Jackson was charged with two felonies in September for possession of a firearm and recklessly endangering safety, the AP reported.
The AP wants the Department of Corrections to release the tape. It is represented by Robert Dreps with Godfrey Kahn.