The Broward County-based Sun-Sentinel will appear in court on Thursday to argue for access to information that took place during the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting on Valentine's Day.
According to an editorial by the Sun-Sentinel, there are aspects of the shooting that remain a mystery, in large part, because Sheriff Scott Israel refuses to hand over information that the newspaper feels should be public knowledge.
"At the head of the pack is Broward Sheriff Scott Israel, who suggests the school’s resource officer acted cowardly during the mass shooting and two deputies mishandled earlier warnings. Aside from that, though, the sheriff wants you to take his word that he and his deputies did amazing work before, during and after the shooting," the editorial stated. "But that’s not how it works. To hold government accountable, we need a better picture of what happened. And that means we need to see the evidence ourselves, starting with the security video taken outside the school."
The editorial board argues that they aren't the only news organization who has sought additional information from Scott's office.
"Among other things, we’ve also requested copies of the 911 calls, police radio calls and incident reports from the 39 times BSO deputies were called to the home of Nikolas Cruz, who’s confessed to carrying out the rampage that killed 17 and injured 17," the editorial stated."But the video is an important first step in answering urgent questions, including: What went right and wrong outside the school? Where was School Resource Officer Scot Peterson during the shooting? How long did it take BSO deputies to arrive? Did they enter the building or not? Were Coral Springs officers first to go in? Were emergency medical technicians restrained from entering? How long before rescue trucks were able to race victims to hospitals?"
The editorial board says the answers are needed now because there's a lack of knowledge about what really took place.
"Meanwhile, we’re in the middle of a major public debate about how to harden schools, whether to change gun laws, how to handle potentially dangerous gun owners and most importantly, whether our children are safe in school," the editorial stated. "And laws are being formed without the benefit of knowing what exactly happened."
According to the newspaper, their attorneys will appear before Circuit Court Judge Jeffrey Levenson to make their case that "there's good cause to release the video."
“By refusing to release the video, the public is being deprived of significant and first-hand information that would allow them to have an informed voice on what changes may be necessary to avoid such tragedies in the future, and to potentially provide an answer to the pressing question of whether more lives could have been saved,” said the Sun-Sentinal's lawyer, Dana McElroy.
The board ended their editorial with a rather mic-drop:
We’ve heard a lot of talk these last few weeks about the Second Amendment and your right to bear arms. But there’s a reason our Founding Fathers put “a free press” in the First Amendment. Because to make informed decisions about our government, people need to know what’s going on.
And for the record, when it comes to your right to know, the Sun Sentinel is on the front lines, fighting for you.