AG Says City of Fargo Violated Open Records Law in Osmundson Controversy

Todd Osmundson, a former deputy chief with the Fargo Police Department, talks June 7 about why he changed out of his uniform and into civilian clothes during the Fargo Marches for George Floyd protest and ensuing riot on May 30. Forum file photo

MINOT, N.D. — One June 4, as a part of my efforts to uncover this misdeeds of former Fargo Police Department deputy chief Todd Osmundson, I sent an open records request to the City of Fargo requesting an email sent by Police Chief David Todd responding to the situation.

I obtained the email, and reported on it, though only with heavy redactions the city justified by citing exemptions to open records laws for criminal intelligence and security planning.

I filed a complaint about these redactions with Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem’s office, as any citizen is allowed to do when dealing with open records or open meetings law.

This morning, Stenehjem issued an opinion finding the City of Fargo violated open records law.

“While the position of the Department at the time of this records request is understandable, the contents of the email do not fit within any of the exceptions to the open records law,” the opinion states. “No actual security plans or threat assessments were included or detailed in the email. Merely stating that the department has criminal intelligence information is not, in and of itself, criminal intelligence information.”

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Rob Port is the editor of SayAnythingBlog.com, a columnist for the Forum News Service, and host of the Plain Talk Podcast which you can subscribe to by clicking here.

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