ABC, CBS and CNN are among nearly two dozen media organizations that filed a lawsuit Thursday against the City of Orlando, asking for the release of city phone recordings related to the mass shooting at the Pulse nightclub.
“There is strong public interest in fully evaluating how first responders and police reacted during the most critical phases of this incredible tragedy,” the media organizations argue in the suit, filed in Orange County, Florida. “To be sure, the news media do not approach this petition with any preconceived notion that the city somehow acted inappropriately. Indeed, the audio recordings may well serve to substantiate and justify any action taken.”
The City of Orlando made its own filing with the court, arguing release of the recordings is exempt under Florida public records law–and that the FBI says releasing the recordings could damage the ongoing criminal investigation into the attack that left 49 people dead.
According to a letter obtained by the Associated Press, Paul Wysopal, special agent in charge of the FBI Tampa field office writes “the FBI considers information obtained from state and local law enforcement agencies in furtherance of its investigation to be evidence, or potential evidence.”