Potential trial for the South Bend 'police tapes' case decided this week

NOW: Potential trial for the South Bend ’police tapes’ case decided this week

SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- The next steps in the South Bend police tapes scandal could be decided as soon as Monday. Jury selection is now set for Tuesday which means the Judge needs to make a ruling on whether or not the former and current officers fighting the release have legal standing.

St. Joseph County Judge Steven Hostetler has previously ruled some of the audio recordings can be released. So, the recordings in question now are only those made on or after February 4th, 2011.

In 2011, the South Bend Police Department’s former communications director came across recorded phone calls of former and current officers allegedly making racist comments. The existence of the recordings first became public in 2012 clouding Former Mayor Pete Buttigieg’s time in office.

Since then, the South Bend Common Council sued the city for the release of the audio tapes. Followed by, former and current officers counter-suing saying none of the involved parties consented to recordings of department phone lines. The question is whether or not officers gave “implied” consent to be recorded on department phone lines.

So, if the judge believes the officers have standing, the case finally goes to trial, and jurors will decide if there was implied consent. If he finds they don’t have standing that paves the way for the recordings to potentially be released. Even with the judge ruling the release of previous recordings, none of the tapes will be public until all of the legal actions are fully completed and this includes any future appeals.


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