Richmond police drop demand for documents
The Richmond Police Department is dropping its demand for the return of dozens of internal documents it provided to a group called Richmond Copwatch, a week after filing suit in Richmond Circuit Court seeking an emergency protective order.
The 600 pages of documents were supplied last month, at a cost of $89.25, after a Freedom of Information Act request by an anarchist who uses the name "Mo Karn," short for "Mo Karnage."
Richmond police turned over materials such as their Emergency Operations Plan, the Homeland Security Criminal Intelligence Unit Operating Manual and the Mobile Command Center Operating Manual.
Karn then put them online.
The documents don't appear to reveal any specific police secrets, but Richmond Chief Bryan T. Norwood filed suit on Jan. 4 saying that "dissemination of these documents in any form to the public jeopardizes and endangers Richmond's police officers and citizens."
Karn took the suit to the American Civil Liberties Union, which agreed to represent her, and filed a response challenging the police on First Amendment grounds.
The ACLU's executive director, Kent Willis, said that once the documents were released, citizens were free to do with them as they pleased.
Richmond police apparently recognized that they faced a losing battle, and the ACLU said Tuesday that the police were withdrawing their legal action. "The city never had a legal leg to stand on," Willis said, "and no practical means, under any circumstances, of retrieving the information once it was posted on the internet."
Richmond police spokesman Gene Lepley referred a request for comment to Tammy D. Hawley, the press secretary for Mayor Dwight C. Jones. Hawley did not immediately respond to a request for comment, but she told the Richmond Times-Dispatch, "We don't want to waste city resources."
Posted by: MarilynManson | January 11, 2011 1:08 PM | Report abuse
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