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Fri March 2, 2012
MSU Edits Public Copy of Lawmaker’s Traffic Stop
Michigan State University has cut portions of a videotape and police report on the arrest of a state lawmaker who is a key decision-maker on higher education spending. State Representative Bob Genetski was stopped last month on the MSU campus and arrested for drunk driving.
The news service MLive requested the police report and video after the full versions were used in a public hearing. MSU at first refused, but later provided versions that redacted Genetski’s responses to field sobriety tests such as reciting the alphabet, counting, and standing on one leg.
Michael MacLaren is the executive director of the Michigan Press Association. He says MSU’s action undermines the public’s trust in open government.
“It’s very troubling," MacLaren says. "And I worry about the pattern of behavior that would ensue from this. It just doesn't smell right.”
An MSU spokesman says the redacted portions would have needlessly invaded Genetski’s privacy and that every freedom of information request to MSU is reviewed by a lawyer. Genetski chairs the House higher education budget subcommittee.