Court official finds in favor of The Dispatch over Powell police in Zach Smith records case

From The Dispatch

Powell police will provide The Dispatch with records of 2015 domestic-violence complaints against former Ohio State assistant football coach Zach Smith after a special master for the Ohio Court of Claims found Tuesday that the records were improperly withheld.

Police Chief Gary Vest said the department doesn’t plan to appeal the findings in the 40-page report.

“We’ll follow the advice of the court and start working through the process,” Vest said, adding that he had yet to meet with the city’s legal counsel.

Special master Jeffrey W. Clark found that the police department failed to comply with Ohio public records law in withholding numerous documents, images and audio and video recordings from The Dispatch.

“We’re pleased to see the court rule in favor of openness by upholding the public records laws,” said Dispatch Editor Alan D. Miller. “And we are eager to see Powell officials turn over the records they should have made public months ago.”

Clark agreed with The Dispatch that while the law allows specific information that identifies uncharged suspects to be redacted, entire records cannot be withheld under that exception.

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