Rolly: How records access delayed reporting attack on gay man
PAUL ROLLY
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2011, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Members of the Salt Lake City gay community are rightly upset that a vicious attack on a gay man outside Club Sound early Saturday wasn't reported in the media until Thursday after QSalt Lake magazine detailed the beating.

Club Sound owner Tom Taylor said he had left the club shortly after 2 a.m. and encountered another man who had been beaten, just three blocks east of club. The timing and proximity of the two beatings suggests they were committed by the same group who seemed to be targeting gay men.

Angry callers to The Salt Lake Tribune Thursday said if there is an active predatory gang in downtown Salt Lake City looking to brutalize gay people, the public should have been alerted before nearly a week passed.

I agree, but I blame the delay on the change in public access laws that have made it more difficult to obtain police reports and other information from law enforcement that may be pertinent to public safety.

Salt Lake City Police Department spokeswoman Lara Jones said the incident was not included in the department's daily watch log distributed electronically to media outlets because officers did not respond physically to the scene. The department learned of the event several hours later from a telephone call.

A police report was eventually produced but was not transferred to the watch log.

When I was a police reporter — a long time ago — the Salt Lake City Police Department and Salt Lake County Sheriff's Office made copies of all police reports completed in the previous 24 hours to media agencies. That way, the media was able to report crimes the public needed to be aware of.

Thanks to the Utah Legislature, that process has been so bureaucratically muddled, it is impossible for police agencies to follow that once-efficient process.

Jones said Police Chief Chris Burbank is trying to made electronic logs from the department more accessible while protecting privacy rights and avoiding liability pitfalls.

Oh, those kidders: Not only is the Republican Party following State Democratic Chairman Jim Dabakis around with a video camera, trying to catch him saying something stupid, it seems the GOP-dominated Legislature is part of the game-playing designed to annoy political foes.

After a Tribune reportercovered a news conference from the progressive group Alliance for a Better Utah, he received a tweet from the Twitter account of "@abetterutah," which said, "Thanks for omitting the fact that no one showed up. I worried about that one all night."

He then got a tweet from "@betterutah," the real group, that said: "Just want to be sure you know that "abetterutah" is an impersonator and is NOT the Alliance for a Better Utah."

But then he got a tweet from the Utah Legislature's official Twitter account, @utleg, which repeated the phony tweet: "Thanks for omitting the fact that no one showed up. I worried about that one all night."

The logo for the real group is in the shape of the state of Utah and says, "Alliance for a Better Utah: Politics elevated, making Utah a better place to live through year-round multi-issue education and advocacy."

The logo for the phony, Legislature-backed group says, "Alliance for a Bitter Utah: Politics elevated, making Utah a better place to live through constant complaining about Republicans."

Freudian slip? Salt Lake City Councilman J.T. Martin either is planning a coup to form a monarchy and take control of city government, or he needs a better proofreader.

Martin, who is running for a second term, has passed out campaign fliers in his east-side district listing his accomplishments during his first term.

Under the heading, "East Bench Master Plan," the flier boasts: "Before J.T., the previous administration was content with leaving the East Bench master plan on the back burner. During his first term, J.T. took the reigns and brought the plan to the foreground."

So does he now consider himself royalty, or did he mean to say "reins"?

prolly@sltrib.com

facebook.com/paulrolly —