A Florida sheriff's office is asking the family of a pedestrian killed by a police cruiser to pay $314,000 for access to public records related to the officer who was driving the vehicle.
The Florida Times-Union reports that the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office returned the huge bill for the records search after an attorney for the family of victim Blane Land requested records related to the officer's personnel history.
Land was struck and killed by a JSO police cruiser in May. The officer behind the wheel, Tim James, had been investigated at least 11 times by the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office and would a month later be arrested on charges of beating a teen in handcuffs.
Land family attorney John M. Phillips filed a records request relating to James’ driving history and civil rights complaints.
But in what Phillips says is an apparent attempt to hide that fact, his request for public records about James' work history was met instead with a bill for $314,000 — one of as many as three to come, according to invoice from the Jacksonvillve Sheriff's Office. Phillips says he has yet to receive any documents related to James.
"This is bad, bad cop," said Phillips, who added that internal affairs is and has been investigating James, "so there is a bio."
Sheriff's spokeswoman Lauri-Ellen Smith says the office is reviewing the matter.
Barbara Peterson of the Florida First Amendment Foundation told the newspaper that the high estimate is likely a violation of Florida's public records law because it denies the constitutional right to access records.