YAKIMA, Wash. -

 A judge says the city of Yakima violated the Public Records Act when it refused to release a report on misconduct allegations against a police sergeant.

Yakima Superior Court Judge Susan Hahn ruled Monday the city wrongfully claimed a law enforcement exemption when it withheld an internal investigation of Sgt. Erik Hildebrand, who later resigned.

The Yakima Herald-Republic reports Olympia open records advocate Arthur West sought the records in March 2012 after reading about how the city had denied a request from the newspaper.

The ruling opens the possibility the city could have to pay penalties and legal costs. A hearing is expected in July.

City Attorney Jeff Cutter says the city hasn't decided whether to appeal the judge's ruling.