Newspaper files lawsuit for access to police dispatch tapes

Posted: Tuesday, July 31, 2001

ANCHORAGE (AP) -- The Anchorage Daily News has filed a lawsuit seeking a copy of the tape-recorded police radio communications leading up to the collision that killed a police officer July 9.

Patrol officer Justin Wollam, 19-year-old Robert Esper and two other teens were killed when Esper slammed a Chevy Blazer into Wollam's patrol car on the Glenn Highway.

The newspaper had asked the police department for a copy of the tape-recorded communications on July 12. Deputy Chief Mark Mew denied the request. Anchorge Mayor George Wuerch upheld that decision, saying a release would interfere with criminal proceedings.

The newspaper argues that the communications were already broadcast over public airwaves and anyone with a scanner could have recorded them.

Dennis Fradley, the mayor's spokesman, said Monday the city had received the suit but had not yet reviewed it.

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