Secrecy surrounds Kansas officer-involved shootings, other cases

Police lights (KSN File Photo)

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) – Some Kansas police departments do not identify officers involved in fatal shootings, and body camera footage from the incidents may never become public.

Records in unsolved criminal cases can remain closed indefinitely, even to victims’ families.

The Kansas City Star reports that grieving families can wait years to get answers about relatives who’ve been killed, and weak state transparency laws can allow law enforcement agencies to avoid public scrutiny.

And Kansas is less open than other states, including neighboring Missouri.

Kansas in 2014 became the last state in the nation to open affidavits spelling out the details behind arrests, though judges in some counties still seal them.

Authorities defend keeping records closed by citing the need for thorough investigations or to protect officers.

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