City/Newspaper in legal battle over gang map - 13abc.com Toledo (OH) News, Weather and Sports

City/Newspaper in legal battle over gang map

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Should Toledo residents see a map outlining gang activity in their neighborhoods?   The 3-justice panel of the 6th District Court of Appeals in Toledo ruled the Bell administration must release a gang map prepared by the city's police department.

But Tuesday, the administration advised city council Toledo was appealing the case to the Ohio Supreme Court.

While this may seem like a battle over a map, it is really an issue involving crime prevention, the public's right to know, and in an election year, transparency.

Transparency

Councilman Joe McNamara (D), who's running for mayor, wanted to offer a resolution at Tuesday's council meeting asking the mayor to release the police department's gang map.  The Toledo Blade sued the city to gain release of the police department's gang map.

On July 12, 2013,  the 6th District Court of Appeals ruled the city should release that map but the Bell administration is not giving in.

Deputy Mayor Steve Herwat told city council, Tuesday, the court's decision against the city leaves the administration "no alternative except to file an appeal in the Ohio Supreme Court which we did shortly before 1-o'clock, (Tuesday)."

Wednesday, McNamara said he was disappointed with that decision, telling 13 abc reporter Bill Hormann, "I think it's a symptom of a lack of transparency and a lack of holistic approach to dealing with crime."

Crime Prevention

The administration says releasing that gang map will jeopardize investigations and investigation techniques.

But in it's ruling, the 6th District Court of Appeals disagreed.  The justices stated releasing the city's gang map would not jeopardize any police investigation.

Bsed on it's sources, The Toledo Blade created it's own gang map.

In a July 18th editorial, the paper wrote, the official map would "form the basis of a valuable debate about public safety during this year's city election campaign."

Right to Know

One Toledo resident told 13abc he supports the mayor and his efforts to keep this gang map within the police department.  Tirhohn Sanders said releasing the map only gives gang members a heads up, telling reporter Hormann gangs will think "they know where we are, let's move somewhere else."

But other residents believe the mayor to share what the city knows.

Richard Majewski said, "They know where the gang members are and they know where the problems are with the gangs so they should warn the citizens."

Devonte Stovall told 13abc, "It would help in the fact to know what areas to be more cautious in."

Neither the Bell administration nor the Blade wanted to comment now that this case since it is before the state supreme court.

If the court decides to hear the case,  the city has 40-days to file its complaint.  The Blade would have 40-days to respond and then the city would have another 40-days to respond to that

So, this issue could drag into next year.

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