LANSING, Mich. (Great Lakes News) – Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson back-pedaled an initial statement on Friday that her office would no longer release the driving records of “victims of violence.”
Benson’s flip-flop came several hours later via Twitter where said there had not been a change in policy or “to media or public access to such data.”
The department is currently reviewing the manner in which it provides the driver record of any Michigan resident to third parties to ensure we balance the critical importance of government transparency & access to information with the need to protect the privacy of Michiganders.
— Jocelyn Benson (@JocelynBenson) April 16, 2022
The statements came after the Grand Rapids Police Department announced an unnamed officer shot 26-year-old Patrick Lyoya after a traffic stop. The video released by the department of the April 4th incident shows Lyoya resisting arrest and attempting to grab the officer’s taser.
David Kallman, an attorney with the Great Lakes Justice Center, clarified that Secretary of State Benson’s job description does not include making new laws.
“The [Secretary of State] cannot pick and choose which laws she will obey,” Kallman said. “She must comply with the law as it exists, not the law as she wants it to be.”
In addition, Kallman clarified that if Benson wants to change this law she should go to the Legislature.
“[Currently], anyone who makes a FOIA request can file a lawsuit to enforce the law if the Secretary of State refuses to comply and divulge the information.”