By Royal McGregor
Originally published Jan. 16, 2020
Signs point to another legal battle brewing between the Odessa American and the City of Odessa following a crackdown by the city on releasing crime information.
The OA for decades has received prompt response for requests for information about crime in Odessa but that grinded to an almost standstill following a mass shooting in Odessa on Aug. 31.
Some elected officials were unhappy that names of victims from the mass shooting were released quickly and a shift in how information was released on all crime in Odessa began.
Public documents that had taken two to 24 hours to receive began taking up to four weeks to obtain and often came back so highly redacted that it was unclear what crime had been committed.
While the OA has been criticized in the past by city officials for “making the city look bad” by reporting the city’s unflattering crime rates, this shift in releasing information violates state and federal law.