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Judge rules certain police tapes can be released

NOW: Judge rules certain police tapes can be released

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SOUTH BEND, Ind. --- A break through has been made in the long-time fight to release the South Bend Police tapes as a judge has reached a decision that could mean the release of some or all of the tapes.

A judge decided on Monday that some tapes in question can be released, specifically any tape made on or before February 4, 2011.

It has not yet been determined if any tapes recorded after February 4, 2011 will be released.

“We can’t let the past be the past because the past could continue to be the present for us,” said Henry Davis, Jr., South Bend Common Council member.

It has been a long fought battle over the controversial South Bend Police tapes as many in the community are in disagreement with just how to move forward.

Henry Davis, Jr. is a current South Bend Common Council member and also served when the tapes were first drawn into question.

“You didn’t really know what to believe or who to believe,” said Davis.

A judge ruled that tapes made before or on February 4, 2011 were not covered by the Federal Wiretap Act, meaning those tapes can be released.

The February 4 date is a key component in this case as it marks the day Chief Boykins discovered that Officer Young’s phone line was being recorded when it should not have been.

“We’re really happy that things are looking like they’re getting ready to open up for us,” said Davis.

The release of any tape made after that key date could also be released if current or former officers or employees of the police department granted implied consent to having their phone calls recorded, but that must be determined in a trial.

More than 2 million taxpayer dollars have already been spent on the battle to date, but Davis said it is much more than that.

“These tapes get played, then the community can start healing…these tapes get played, then trust can be restored back into the city,” said Davis.

While Davis said the decision is a step in the right direction, no final judgement has been made just yet and with no way to determine at this time whether implied consent was given, none of the tapes can be released.

No matter what side of the aisle people fall on, Davis said releasing the tapes is necessary for the whole community to heal.

“We have to move forward in a manner that the public sees some promise,” said Davis.

It is too early in the process to determine just how long the case could take and no tapes can be released until a final judgement has been made and all appeals have been exhausted.

It is likely an appeal will be filed and the case be sent to trial to determine whether or not the implied consent was given.

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