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WSU Prof Drops Suit Against Police

Tue., Dec. 2, 1997, midnight

A Washington State University journalism instructor said Monday that he was withdrawing a lawsuit seeking access to police information.

David Demers said a recent Supreme Court decision allowing police broad discretion in withholding information rendered moot his lawsuit against the Pullman Police Department.

The court ruled Nov. 20 that police could withhold information if it were deemed part of an ongoing investigation - and gave police agencies wide latitude in determining what is and is not an investigatory document.

The ruling was criticized by newspaper and public-access advocates, who said it could close the door on disclosure of even the most routine information.

Demers alleged in his lawsuit that Pullman police had unfairly withheld information from students seeking it for a class assignment.

But the department contended it already had made available all of the information being sought.

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