Ohio State Troopers Won't Release Use of Force Records from Deployment to #NoDAPL Protests


OSHP Troopers in action in North Dakota. - TWITTER: @RACHOLOGY216 / BSNORRELL.BLOGSPOT.COM
  • Twitter: @Rachology216 / bsnorrell.blogspot.com
  • OSHP Troopers in action in North Dakota.
The Ohio State Highway Patrol's refusal to release use of force records from a deployment to North Dakota last fall raises "significant questions about what the patrol is hiding," wrote the Columbus Dispatch, in an editorial last week.

In late October 2016, as Scene and other outlets reported, the OHSP sent 37 troopers to aid North Dakota state and regional law enforcement in their efforts to control the thousands of protesters who'd shown up to demonstrate against the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline. In Ohio, petitions arose asking Gov. John Kasich to reassess his priorities and bring the volunteer troopers home.

The Dispatch reported earlier this month that the troopers had indeed used force while deployed there — the photo above captures an OHSP trooper preparing to fire a rubber bullet at a line of protesters — but that OHSP refused to release records about the type and frequency of the use-of-force instances, citing "security concerns" and "trooper safety."

"The patrol did release a record showing that a review by superiors found that the troopers’ use of force on the protesters was appropriate and within patrol policy," wrote reporter Randy Ludlow. "The patrol says the other records are exempt from release as “security” records because their release could endanger the troopers’ safety amid threats made against law enforcement during the [demonstrations]."

The Dispatch editorial board cried foul. They even amended their request so as not to require the individual names of officers — "No one wants to put troopers in danger," the editorial board said. "Even then, the Department of Public Safety refused."

Until Public Safety Director John Born releases those records, the Dispatch, (and Scene, certainly) will have a difficult time believing that there's nothing being intentionally kept out of the public eye.

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