City of Canandaigua Refusing to Say Why Police Officer in Fatal Shooting Has Not Been Identified

Police Chief Stephen Hedworth

Almost two weeks after a Canandaigua police officer shot and killed an off-duty parole officer at the Pinnacle North Apartments, the city has not only declined to identify the police officer involved but also has declined to say why it’s withholding the name.

Contacted early Friday, City Manager John Goodwin at first said a statement would be released in the afternoon but later opted against it and declined comment.

Canandaigua Police Chief Stephen Hedworth also declined to comment Friday afternoon on the decision to withhold the police officer’s name and instead referred all questions to Goodwin and the city attorney.

Terence Robinson, with Boylan Code LLP, the corporation counsel to the city, also declined to discuss the decision when reached Friday at the firm, saying that by policy, he doesn’t comment publicly on clients.

On Tuesday, the Daily Messenger submitted a Freedom of Information Law request to the city seeking the identity of the police officer, who has been placed on administrative leave following the Oct. 4 shooting. To date, the identity has not been disclosed — despite the state’s most prominent public records expert declaring that the information is “clearly public, clearly public, clearly public.”

Robert Freeman, executive director of the New York State Committee on Open Government, said Tuesday the city had no legal reason for not releasing the officer’s identity.

Where they stand
The Daily Messenger on Friday polled members of the city administration and the elected mayor and City Council as to their stance on the city’s decision to withhold the name of the Canandaigua police officer involved in the Oct. 4 fatal shooting at Pinnacle North Apartments. Here is what we learned:

“There may be other elements of the record that can be held, but the mere identity of the officer acting in the performance of his duties would be public, even though there is a possibility that other aspects of the record may be withheld,” Freeman said.

So if there is no legal reason to withhold the name, what is the city’s reason for doing so? As of Friday evening, no one with the authority to make that determination had given an explanation as to why.

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Filming Cops
Filming Cops 5618 posts

Filming Cops was started in 2010 as a conglomerative blogging service documenting police abuse. The aim isn’t to demonize the natural concept of security provision as such, but to highlight specific cases of State-monopolized police brutality that are otherwise ignored by traditional media outlets.

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