Live 5 News court hearing to challenge for release of Mt. Pleasant incident report postponed

Live 5 News court hearing to challenge for release of Mt. Pleasant incident report postponed
(Source: Live 5)

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - A hearing in which a judge was scheduled to decide the fate of a redacted Mount Pleasant incident report has been postponed.

The hearing was scheduled for Tuesday afternoon but will now take place at a later date.

Lawyers for Live 5 News, The Post and Courier and the Charleston City Paper were scheduled to be in court on Tuesday when a judge is expected to decide whether the town of Mount Pleasant must release an unredacted incident report naming a town official.

The town wants the release of the incident report blocked and says the Freedom of Information Act doesn’t apply in this circumstance.

Live 5 frequently uses this act to request publicly available documents from government entities such as incident reports, 911 calls and dashcam video. It’s also a method used to uncover certain stories including the Marvin Gethers case involving the Charleston County School District.

This specific incident all stems from our request for a report of an alleged assault at Cario Middle School that happened in October 2018.

The apparent victim is the daughter of the town official. The official’s name is hidden in the report, which Live 5 News maintains is a violation of the Freedom of Information Act.

The town’s lawyers want the judge to decide if the town must release the unredacted report that names the official.

The police report states the official made threats to staff at the school if they didn’t document the incident as an assault.

In the court filing, the town says it is their belief that the primary motivation for our request is “political intrigue at the expense of a minor child’s right to privacy.” A lawyer for the alleged victim has threatened to sue the town if they released the report.

When the town council voted 7-1 back in May to instruct their lawyers to a petition a judge, Mayor Will Haynie was the only “no” vote and supports releasing the document.

“I am not willing to bow to threats by outside lawyers representing anonymous clients, attempting to suppress information obtained under the Freedom of Information Act about an incident involving an adult in a public school in our community that was serious enough that it necessitated the generation of a police report by our own police department,” Haynie wrote in an email to Live 5.

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