College and district officials stonewall the press by delaying access to public documents
[dropcap]D[/dropcap]espite repeated demands and a Public Records Act request filed Tuesday, district officials have not provided el Don with security footage of a break-in that took place at Phillips Hall Theatre Sept. 6.
When prompted for the footage Wednesday morning, district safety officials questioned why the security videos needed to be released and said that nobody would be in the office to release a copy of the tape.
“I’m in interviews all day, and my secretary is helping me. Maybe on Thursday, or even Friday,” Interim Director of District Safety and Security Alistair Winter said.
Winter went on to tell a reporter that el Don’s coverage should focus on bicycle thefts instead of a burglary that resulted in more than $4,000 in stolen property.
That figure does not include the cost to repair a pane-glass window that the burglar smashed to gain access to the building or the cost of cleaning bloodstained carpet and walls.
“I think you should write about bike thefts. When you think about burglaries and bike thefts, which impacts students more?” he said.
It surprises us that students and faculty were allowed back in the crime scene at all. The green room had blood splatters on the floors and walls. They appeared haphazardly cleaned. Bodily fluid can be toxic.
Typically, specialists go on the premises with biohazard suits to remove blood off floors and walls.
Safety officials filed a report with the Santa Ana Police Department Saturday morning after receiving permission from Winter.
Investigators are testing DNA from the bloodstains that safety officials suspect the burglar left behind after breaking through the window, Winter said.
He shrugged off the possibility of a burglar becoming violent towards students, staff or faculty.
“I’ve been in law enforcement 20 years, and burglars don’t strike when there are people around,” Winter said.