Posts Tagged ‘va 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

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…)

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…)