Can a Blogger Be Sued for Posting a Hawaii County Police Media Release?

I posted the following Police MEDIA RELEASE to my blog back on February 25th of 2009 and this Angelo Scrigna character has been pretty much trying to tell me to remove it from my blog ever since I posted it.

Tonight he is still telling me to remove it:

There is a post on you page of me that includes my ex girlfriend, my kid pictures of me and alot of false accusation, this pertains to a case that was in family court which your firm desires to make a mockery of.
I am writing to you to give you official notice to cease and desist from using nay images of Angelo Scrigna or Sundown Scrigna on your web site.
To date there has been no conviction and the case was dismissed hence your page gives viewers another impression.
Please remove all articles of Angelo Scrigna from your page or we shall have no other relief but to file federal charges for defamation of character, compensatory damages and punitive damages.
Regards, Angelo Scrigna

I told him that I would remove it when the Hawaii Police Department removed their initial release about it.

Here is the post in question copied and pasted here:

Pahoa Brothers Sought by Police

Posted on February 25, 2009 by Damon | Edit

The Hawai’i Police Department is searching for two brothers wanted for questioning in connection with violation of order and harassing phone call investigations.

Angelo Scrigna

Angelo Scrigna is wanted for violating a restraining order. He is described as Caucasian, 6-feet tall, approximately 160 pounds with hazel eyes and brown hair.

Sundown Scrigna is wanted for questioning about phone calls and has an outstanding restraining order. He is described as Caucasian, 6-foot 2, approximately 160 pounds with brown hair and brown eyes.

The Scrigna brothers were last seen in the Pāhoa area of the Puna District.

Police ask that anyone with information on their whereabouts call Officer Joseph Stender at 887-3080 or the Police Department’s non-emergency line at 935-3311. Tipsters who prefer to remain anonymous may call Crime Stoppers at 961-8300 in Hilo or 329-8181 in Kona. All Crime Stoppers information is kept confidential.

It’s still posted on the Hawaii County Police website under their media release archive which dates back to 1999.

I don’t think I really have anything to worry about in the fact that I just republished what was public information and it’s still posted on the Police department’s website.

I told Mr. Scrigna I would remove it from my site when the police do.

My question is… can a blogger be sued for posting what a police department releases even if the police department may be incorrect in their initial assessment of the crime?

It is listed on the police departments site as a “MEDIA RELEASE”.  I would think that Mr. Scrigna needs to ask the Police Department to have it removed, then I would have no problem removing it myself.

For what it’s worth… I think Mr. Scrigna has changed his last name to “Jock” or something as that is the last name his latest e-mail came from.

One Response

  1. As you’ve found out, you can end up in court for anything, but _outcome_-wise, you’re assured. What the police post is public record. But it’s not like you’re a paper of record — what’s the harm of taking down a post that’s nothing but a retread of a media release? It upsets the guy, maybe the whole thing was a mistake or the cops were in the wrong (it could happen), you’re not serving any real information need by keeping it available.

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