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Judge: police must turn over some records in crime scene photo investigation

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(Rachel Lippmann/St. Louis Public Radio)
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Crime scene tape blocked off the area involved in a March 8 shootout in St. Louis. A cell phone photo of the body of Carlos Boles, the man killed in the shootout, is the subject of an investigation.

A federal judge has ruled that four St. Louis police officers must turn over some personal cell phone records as part of the department's investigation into who forwarded the photo of a man killed in a shootout with law enforcement earlier this month.

Judge Nanette Laughrey says the department may look at any text messages that included pictures sent within 10 days of the death of Carlos Boles, who fired at police and federal marshals who came to arrest him.

St. Louis Police Officers' Association business manager Jeff Roorda calls the ruling a violation of the officer's privacy. He's urging members not to use cell phones for any work-related calls.

"I understand the implications of this," Roorda said. "It means St. Louis city is a less-safe place and this hobbles your ability to do your job and provide police services to the people of St. Louis. But this is the rules that the department wants to live under."

Roorda says officers often have to use cell phones because radio transmissions are unclear.

The department would not comment on an ongoing internal investigation.

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