P.O. Box 693 Mexico, Missouri www.mofreedom.org (314) 604-6621
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: CONTACT: Dave Roland
August 27, 2020 (314) 604-6621
Mexico, Missouri— Just two months after the Freedom Center of Missouri filed a lawsuit on behalf of the family of Ahmonta Harris, a Columbia community activist who was killed in November of 2018, Boone County has produced to the family audio and video recordings it had withheld from them for more than a year.
Although Missouri’s Sunshine Law gives family members the right to obtain “complete unaltered and unedited” copies of such records and does not authorize government entities to charge fees associated with producing those records, Boone County had previously refused to produce the documents to the Harris family unless they first paid the county more than $2,200. Prior to the lawsuit the County also claimed that the Harris family had “abandoned” their request by declining to pay the fee the County was demanding.
“It is unfortunate that the Harris family was required to file a lawsuit to get Boone County to fulfill their responsibility to produce these records, but we are gratified that the County chose to comply quickly rather than to wage a long, costly legal battle,” said Dave Roland, the Freedom Center’s director of litigation and the attorney who represented the Harris family.
In addition to providing the recordings to the Harris family without charge, the County agreed to pay an amount sufficient to cover the cost of filing the lawsuit. In return, the Harris family voluntarily dismissed their lawsuit against the County.
Founded in November 2010, the Freedom Center of Missouri is a non-profit, non-partisan organization dedicated to research, litigation, and education in defense of individual liberty and transparent, accountable, constitutionally limited government. The Freedom Center is one of Missouri’s leading legal advocates for government transparency; this is the Freedom Center’s eleventh Sunshine Law case. Additional information about the Freedom Center’s mission, cases, and activities can be found online at www.mofreedom.org.
# # #