Click on the audio player above to learn more about this investigation.
In the weeks after Cleveland Police Officer Tim Loehmann shot 12-year-old Tamir Rice last November, the Cleveland Plain Dealer discovered that Loehmann had problems learning to use firearms in his previous job.
Loehmann's personnel file read that the officer "'could not follow simple directions, could not communicate clear thoughts nor recollections, and his handgun performance was dismal,'" the Plain Dealer reported.
Plain Dealer reporters could access Loehmann's files because Ohio is one of a handful of states in which an officer's disciplinary and personnel records are available to the public. An investigation by WNYC reporter Robert Lewis and WNYC's Data News team (see below) finds that these laws vary widely across the country.
In Connecticut, any citizen can file a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request to access police personnel and disciplinary files. Gary MacNamara, police chief of Fairfield, Connecticut, discusses the influence of open records on his department.