PGN has filed a request for clarification with the state Office of Open Records, which recently ordered the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office to release dispatch records relating to the Nizah Morris case.

On Oct. 1, the open-records office ordered the D.A.’s Office to release a document the agency indicated is a complete dispatch record for a vehicle stop by Officer Elizabeth Skala.

Although the D.A.’s Office hasn’t yet released the document, PGN has reviewed it in the past. The document is composed of three records — none of which appears to be a complete dispatch record for Skala’s vehicle stop.

On Oct. 7, PGN asked the D.A.’s Office to identify which of the three records is a complete dispatch record for Skala’s vehicle stop, but the agency didn’t reply.

On Oct. 10, PGN filed a petition with the open-records office, asking that it order the D.A.’s Office to identify which record in the document is a complete dispatch record for Skala’s vehicle stop.

The petition notes the state’s open-records law requires requesters to be specific as to what records they’re seeking.

“Thus, it stands to reason that an agency bears a concomitant responsibility of responding with sufficient specificity, so that a requester can ascertain whether the agency has provided responsive records in accordance with the law,” the petition states.

By presstime, the open-records office hadn’t responded to the petition.

Skala initiated the vehicle stop during the early-morning hours of Dec. 22, 2002, while she was still assigned to handle Morris, who was extremely inebriated.

Shortly before the vehicle stop, Skala gave Morris a Center City “courtesy ride.” Minutes after the ride, the trans-woman was found with blunt-force trauma to her head,

She died two days later, and her homicide remains unsolved.

Skala ticketed a motorist at 13th and Filbert streets, rather than responding to Morris at 16th and Walnut streets, where she was in critical condition due to a head injury.

It’s believed that complete dispatch records for Skala’s vehicle stop could help explain why Morris wasn’t promptly transported to a hospital.

By the time Morris was transported to a hospital — an hour after the first 911 call — she was brain dead.

The complete dispatch record also could help explain why none of the officers who responded to Morris documented the courtesy ride in their patrol-activity log, or by writing a report.

The D.A.’s Office says it’s actively investigating the Morris case. But advocates for Morris say the agency is engaged in a cover-up.

They want state Attorney General Kathleen G. Kane to investigate. But so far, Kane hasn’t agreed to do so.

Last year, the PAC recommended state and federal probes of the Morris case, citing an “appalling” local investigation.

The next Justice for Nizah meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m. Oct. 20 at the William Way Center, 1315 Spruce St.

From our media partner PGN


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