Posts Tagged ‘foia’

You might remember from a couple of years ago that the Wingnut Anarchist Collective and the Richmond Police Department had a tiff regarding some files from the RPD’s General Orders that the Wingnut got a hold of using the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). More about that here ( http://wingnutrva.org/2011/01/04/foiad-again/ )

And after the police were forced to drop their case before it even hit the courts, they refused to comply to any FOIA requests coming from members of the Wingnut Anarchist Collective. We didn’t have the legal resources to take them to court over their violation of the FOIA laws. Instead we made multiple online asks for the info if anyone else already had a copy or was able to get one. (http://wingnutrva.org/2012/04/28/rpd-refuses-to-cooperate-with-foia-we-need-these-files-please-help/ ).

Well, someone finally came through, and an anonymous source gave people access to the rest of the General Orders from the RPD, as well as some other files. Since these files regard the rules the police must follow, and since tax money goes to pay for the police, we figure this is public information, and we are re-posting links to it here. We hope it finds you well and helps you protect yourself and your legal rights.

We haven’t actually had a chance to go through these files ourselves, so if you find something particularly interesting or useful, drop us a line to let us know! wingnut_collective @ yahoo.com We;d also love to hear from copwatchers, lawyers, and anyone who finds this information useful, share your stories!

Here are links to some of the new info out there on the web, not sure how long it will stay on those websites, so download your own copy if you are interested!

http://filebin.net/0cupaguxql

http://filebin.net/8supe72vg8

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UPDATE: Since for whatever reason the story about the Wingnut/Richmond Copwatch using FOIA to get files from the Richmond Police Department is hot now on the internet, we are reposting this request for help.

The police refuse to send us these files.
We are asking for your help.
Please, if you already have these files send us copies. If you have the time/interest, submit a FOIA request of your own for all or part of the following.

We are also interested in any and all government documents you might have pertaining to Virginia, Virginia police (and protocols), FBI and Virginia activist organizations and anarchists etc.

Email us at wingnut_collective@yahoo.com for more info/ if you have the files!

Richmond Copwatch has had an ongoing FOIA request with the Richmond Police Department since January. We were requesting the 2nd half of the documents of police protocols that we did not get the first time we made a request. Since that time the Richmond Police Department has violated the Virginia Freedom of Information Act numerous times. They have a 200 dollar deposit from us, and they are also saying that so far the costs are over 900 dollars. Their lack of communication and compliance make it clear that they are giving us the run around.

You might remember our FOIA Fun back in January- which you can read about here: http://wingnutrva.org/2011/01/04/foiad-again/

We clearly have reason to believe that the police department is refusing to follow the law with this FOIA request because of who we are. We have filed a complaint in court, but VA FOIA law is very limited in its ability to hold government agencies accountable, even if they wanted to.

Since it is taking so long, we were wondering if anyone out there had already used FOIA to get these files. The list of titles we are interested in are below. If you have the time, it would also be awesome if people wanted to submit their own FOIA requests to the Richmond Police Department for these files. However, we would love to take a look at any files people have FOIA’d from the Richmond Police Department. If you have them online, please email them to wingnut_collective@yahoo.com or you can mail a hard copy to Richmond Copwatch 2005 Barton Avenue Richmond, VA 23222 If you have a copy of any of these files that we can borrow that would be great so we can copy and scan them.

These are all sections from the General Orders Index of the Richmond Police Department. We only need the sections listed here, as we have previously received all of the other sections.
1-08
1-09
1-10
1-11
1-12
2-01
2-02
2-03
2-04
2-05
2-06
2-07

More of the documents we need after the break…
(more…)

Richmond Copwatch is looking for pictures and video of the Richmond Police Department last night during the Occupy Richmond marches. If you have any please email sbhcopwatch@gmail.com

Here is a short video of a Richmond Police Officer refusing to identify himself, and generally giving the person trying to find out that information a hard time. You hear the Copwatcher ask for the cop’s Name and Code Number. Then you also hear that cop refusing to give those pieces of information. You can hear him making comments about how the Copwatcher does not know protocol anymore, and must not know the RPD’s protocol. This is a reference to the fact that after Richmond Copwatch used the Freedom of Information Act to get almost 600 pages of the Richmond Police Department’s protocols, we found out that officers were required to identify themselves by Name and Code Number whenever they were asked. However, since then, the RPD has gone out of its way to alter their protocol. We have heard comments from some officers that say the change in protocol is in direct correlation to Copwatch and Copwatch’s attempts to identify members of RPD. To our best knowledge, Richmond Cops are currently only required to identify themselves by Name, but you should still always ask and get Code Number if you can.

Ever wonder what the FBI might have on file about you? Wonder even more after seeing part of the file they have on Richmond Food Not Bombs? Well it is free to request your own FBI file, and in the spirit of NOT being patriotic, Richmond Copwatch is sponsoring a Get Your FBI File Week.

All next week, come by the Wingnut for any of our events or Open Hours (We have something almost every day) and we will provide you with the forms and know how to request your very own FBI file. See how hard Amerikkka has been working for you! Find out how free you have really been!

We will upload the forms on this website later this week for folks who can’t make it by the Wingnut between the 4th of July and the 11th of July. That way you can participate in Spirit. Here are the events that we will be hosting throughout that week though:

July 4th – Di Nigunim and Barons of Tang show at 5pm (post Critical Mass)

July 5th- Maybe a show, flakey band though so we aren’t sure (ha)

July 6th- Open Hours from 4- 9pm AND the Mysterious Rabbit Puppet Army show at 7pm!

July 7th- Anarchist Black Cross Field Trip to the Gun Store at 6pm

July 8th- Open Hours from 4-9pm AND 24 Hour Zine Challenge from 6pm on

July 9th- 24 Hour Zine Challenge until 6pm

July 10th- Food Not Bombs from 12:30pm until 6pm

July 11th- Xtramedium, State of Nature and Mitch the Champion show at 7pm

Richmond Copwatch has had an ongoing FOIA request with the Richmond Police Department since January. We were requesting the 2nd half of the documents of police protocols that we did not get the first time we made a request. Since that time the Richmond Police Department has violated the Virginia Freedom of Information Act numerous times. They have a 200 dollar deposit from us, and they are also saying that so far the costs are over 900 dollars. Their lack of communication and compliance make it clear that they are giving us the run around.

You might remember our FOIA Fun back in January- which you can read about here: http://wingnutrva.org/2011/01/04/foiad-again/

We clearly have reason to believe that the police department is refusing to follow the law with this FOIA request because of who we are. We have filed a complaint in court, but VA FOIA law is very limited in its ability to hold government agencies accountable, even if they wanted to.

Since it is taking so long, we were wondering if anyone out there had already used FOIA to get these files. The list of titles we are interested in are below. If you have the time, it would also be awesome if people wanted to submit their own FOIA requests to the Richmond Police Department for these files.  However, we would love to take a look at any files people have FOIA’d from the Richmond Police Department. If you have them online, please email them to wingnut_collective@yahoo.com or you can mail a hard copy to Richmond Copwatch 2005 Barton Avenue Richmond, VA 23222 If you have a copy of any of these files that we can borrow that would be great so we can copy and scan them.

These are all sections from the General Orders Index of the Richmond Police Department. We only need the sections listed here, as we have previously received all of the other sections.
1-08
1-09
1-10
1-11
1-12
2-01
2-02
2-03
2-04
2-05
2-06
2-07

More of the documents we need after the break…

(more…)

Some of the files recently received through the Freedom of Information Act by Keith McHenry pertain to Richmond Food Not Bombs. We have uploaded these files to archive.org so you can download and read them yourself. Much of the information has been redacted, but there is still enough there to make it clear that there was at least 1 FBI informant participating in Richmond Food Not Bombs during the 2003-2005 time period.

FBI Files on Richmond Food Not Bombs

For Immediate Release:

Richmond Copwatch filed petition in general district court today May 25th, 2011 for mandamus against the Richmond Police Department in regards to the Freedom of Information Act.
Jeremy Hawthorne, a member of the Wingnut Anarchist Collective and Richmond Copwatch made a Freedom of Information Act request (FOIA) on behalf of Richmond Copwatch originally on January 11th. The request is for the remainder of the protocols and manuals that  RPD has, but which Copwatch did not request with the documents they received in December of 2010. Only individuals, not organizations may make requests under VA FOIA.

The Virginia Freedom of Information Act gives  the public body  five days to respond to the FOIA request. If the public body is unable to respond within that five days they are required to notify the petitioner that they are requsting an extension. The extension may be for a maximum seven days.  The public body may continue to extend the time period, but most notify the petitioner and have a legal reason for the extension.

Due to failure of the RPD to respond within those five business days, we enlisted the aid of an attorney from the ACLU. On February 4, the RPD notified our attorney and Mr. Hawthorne of their request of a seven day extension.

According to VA FOIA, the public body may charge for the requested records. They are also allowed to request a deposit of two hundred dollars if they believe the costs of duplication will exceed that. In this case on the last week of March Jeremy Hawthorne made a deposit of two hundred dollars with the Richmond Police Department. Despite this deposit, they continued  to not respond to his calls or e-mails.

In fact, on April 21 when Mr. Hawthorne went to the Police Station to request the records agian, in person, they told him they had no record of his two hundred dollar deposit.  Fortunately, Mr. Hawthorne had requested and received a receipt for his deposit. He was eventually able to prove to them that he had indeed paid his deposit to their department for these records. The excuse given was that the person who took the money from Mr. Hawthorne was not authorized to do so.

To date, Mr. Hawthorne has not received the requested records or any notification from the Richmond Police Department in 34 days. They do not answer or return his phone calls or emails.

As Richmond Copwatch we believe that the failure of the Richmond Police Department to respond to Mr. Hawthorne’s FOIA request in a timely and legal manner constitutes a knowing and willful violation of the Virginia Freedom of Information Act.

The Richmond Police Department’s attempt at a suit in January against Mo Karn, also of Richmond Copwatch, on the grounds that they had given the information to a “known and admitted anarchist”, turned into an utter embarassment for the Richmond Police Department. We believe the Richmond Police Department is now refusing to honor FOIA requests made by anarchists or members of Copwatch.
In our opinion this constitutes a violation of VA FOIA and also of the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

Background:
FOIA law, for reference
http://www.opengovva.org/virginias-foia-the-law

Richmond Copwatch is a non-heirarchical network of groups (more…)

This article was published on our friend’s website- http://www.richmondspark.wordpress.com

One of the main issues of the Monroe Park Occupation (www.monroeparkoccupation.wordpress.com) was the policy of the Richmond Police Department of destroying homeless camps and all of the belongings of homeless people with no notice. This policy has been an ongoing reality for people who are homeless in Richmond. In recent months, many camps have been destroyed by the Richmond police and by people doing court forced “community service” for the 4th precinct. Anyone interested in working on this issue should get in touch with the Wingnut Anarchist Collective. Destroying homeless camps and homeless people’s belongings is nothing short of class war, inhumane treatment, robbery, property destruction, and in many cases, attempted murder.

Here is the article:

ACLU Files FOIA Request Regarding VDOT Policies on Homeless, Litigation a Possibility

The American Civil Liberties Union of Virginia has filed a Freedom of Information Act request with the VA Department of Transportation (VDOT). The ACLU wants information regarding the policies of handling and destroying the possessions of homeless people who live on the land owned by VDOT.

Last month a company contracted by the Virginia Department of Transportation demolished a homeless encampment near Interstate 81 at Exit 315 near Winchester. At least four homeless men were using the property for months when the contracted company destroyed their camp and belongings.

The men lost tents, sleeping bags, clothes, food, medication, and other camping gear. One of the homeless men lost his wallet which contained his Social Security Card and birth certificate. No advance notice about the removal of their possessions was given. (more…)

Today we received an interesting package from the City of Richmond, hand delivered to our door.

The documents within informed us about a court case in the works (“The Chief of Police Bryan Norwood and The City of Richmond v. Mo Karn”), and include an:

“Emergency Motion for Protective Order and to Compel the Return of Tactical Information and to Prevent the Disclosure of Said Information on behalf of Plaintiffs Chief of Police Bryan Norwood and The City of Richmond”

You can see the documents here (they are almost identical):

What it boils down to is they’re trying to sue Mo Karn, saying some of the police documents we received via the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA) are documents they shouldn’t have sent us, specifically ones including “tactical plans”. They are going to attempt to get an order “(A) compelling the return of certain exempt information, (B) preventing the disclosure of this information to the general public, (C) enjoining the defendant from publicizing this information, and (D) granting such other relief as the Court deems appropriate.”

The first reason stated for this in the Emergency Motion is the most obvious:

“1. Defendant Mo Karn is a known and admitted anarchist. See generally http://anarchymo.wordpress.com/2010/12/21/foia-rocks

It goes on to detail most of the mundanely routine email conversation between Mo and the Angela Harrison (Associate General Counsel, although titled in the case documents as a “Program Manager”) of the RPD, to whom our FOIA request was directed. When she mentioned that certain documents included tactical plans, Mo stated very clearly, “I understand that tactical plans may not be subject to FOIA. However if any of the manuals and orders I have requested include tactical plans I would expect that tactical plans sections to be blacked out, but the non-tactical information surrounding them in the manual to still be included.”

In the official response to the FOIA request, the bit about redacting information goes thusly: “in order to completely and properly respond without negatively impacting public safety and our intense operational responsibilities, the Department is entitled to and elects to utilize seven additional work days to respond”.

Well, despite addressing those concerns and the seven days the RPD had to go over the documents, apparently we got some information they thought we shouldn’t have anyway. The Program Manager’s “production of these documents exceeded the authority granted to her,” and she sent them “without first obtaining permission to do so from Chief Norwood.”

Unfortunately that means not shit to us. If the RPD feels they shouldn’t have sent out these documents, maybe they shouldn’t have done so. The idea that they can sue anybody for having information that they gave us is utterly ridiculous.

That said, the list of documents that the RPD feels you shouldn’t read include the following:

Sadly, we already uploaded ALL of these ostensibly public documents (linked above) prior to learning about their illicit nature. We no longer have the ability to remove them from the internet, or the public domain. We encourage you to look through these documents and more on our Richmond Police Department Documents page.

For our part we’re seeking legal counsel on the issue. If it ever goes to court we promise you’ll hear about it.

Just a note- if you are interested in reading any sections of the Richmond Police Department documents that Richmond Copwatch has gotten copies of and you don’t want to print them yourself or read them on a computer, you can come by the Wingnut during Open Hours to read our copy.
These documents are not available for checkout, but one of our couches will be available for sitting on. Wednesdays and Fridays from 4-9pm