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3News Investigates pushes for the release of public records in the Cedar Point investigation

Cedar Point officials have offered little details about how the metal object fell from the ride - details that we believe the public has the right to know.

CLEVELAND — We continue to follow the latest developments in the accident at Cedar Point that sent a woman to the hospital with serious injuries on Sunday.

Cedar Point announced last night, that the Top Thrill Dragster will remain closed after a metal piece came off it, hitting the woman in the head.

We still are unsure of the woman's condition and Cedar Point has released nothing in way of the latest on the investigation.

3News Investigates has made repeated attempts to get public records from Cedar Point, including the incident report.

Investigator Rachel Polansky is working to find out if they're abiding by or if they're breaking Ohio state law.

Cedar Point officials have acknowledged a metal object fell from the ride, but they've offered little details about how it happened - details that we believe the public has a right to know.

Ohio’s public records laws are fairly generous in principle, not always in practice.” said Jessie Hill, a professor of law at Case Western Reserve University. “Only public offices are subject to public record requests. Private companies do not have to hand over information under Ohio law.”

Hill reinforced what we already knew – that public offices must comply with Ohio's records laws – which include turning over information in a timely fashion.

Credit: flickr

But is Cedar Point Police Department a public or a private office?

Well, we know it's a division of the Sandusky Police Department, which means it exercises a public function.

Credit: Sandusky Police Department

“Generally, arresting people, investigating crimes, that's a public function,” Hill said. “To me, it looks like a real uphill battle for the Cedar Point Police Department to convince anyone that they are not a public office.”

Even the fact that they're called Cedar Point Police suggests that they exercise a public function – which means they're required to turn over records.

But despite our repeated attempts – Cedar Point spokesman, Tony Clark, continues to tell us, "We have no documents responsive to your public records request."

“They can’t have it both ways. If they are going to exercise public functions and go around arresting people, they have to also be accountable to the public,” said Hill.

We also want to note that there is an Ohio Supreme Court opinion from 2015 that found a private universities police department (Otterbein) was also a public office and had to turn over public records - more evidence that when a private company creates a police department, it becomes a public office.

*Editor's Note: The video in the player above is from a previous report.

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