Special Reports

Union gets chance to block records

A Tacoma police union seeking to block release of public records related to the David Brame scandal will have the chance to argue its case to the State Court of Appeals next week.

Friday, the Tacoma Police Management Association requested emergency intervention from the state court, after Thurston County Superior Court Judge Gary Tabor rejected the union’s arguments that disclosure of the records would violate the privacy of police employees.

The state court granted the union’s request late Friday. Oral argument is scheduled for Oct. 5.

Three parties are involved in the case: the union, the City of Tacoma and The News Tribune. The union opposes the release, while the city and the newspaper support it.

The records come from a state investigation of 33 city and police department employees, triggered by the homicide/suicide of April 26, 2003, when Police Chief Brame fatally shot his wife, Crystal, and himself.

Though the investigation was completed in mid-2004, the bulk of it – thousands of pages of records – was never released to the public.

After a meeting with The News Tribune in mid-August, city leaders announced plans to release the records. The union sued the city to block disclosure. The News Tribune intervened, arguing along with the city that the release of records was a matter of legitimate public interest.