Use of Force/Complaints Data

Samuel Sinyangwe filed this request with the Baton Rouge Police Department of Baton Rouge-East Baton Rouge, LA.
Est. Completion None
Status
Awaiting Appeal

Communications

From: Samuel Sinyangwe

To Whom It May Concern:

Pursuant to the the Louisiana Public Records Act, I hereby request the following records:

1. Every use of force report made by Baton Rouge police officers since 2013.
2. Every civilian complaint filed against Baton Rouge police officers since 2013.

The requested documents will be made available to the general public, and this request is not being made for commercial purposes.

In the event that there are fees, I would be grateful if you would inform me of the total charges in advance of fulfilling my request. I would prefer the request filled electronically, by e-mail attachment if available or CD-ROM if not.

Thank you in advance for your anticipated cooperation in this matter. I look forward to receiving your response to this request within 3 business days, as the statute requires.

Sincerely,

Samuel Sinyangwe

From: MuckRock

To Whom It May Concern:

Pursuant to the the Louisiana Public Records Act, I hereby request the following records:

1. Every use of force report made by Baton Rouge police officers since 2013.
2. Every civilian complaint filed against Baton Rouge police officers since 2013.

The requested documents will be made available to the general public, and this request is not being made for commercial purposes.

In the event that there are fees, I would be grateful if you would inform me of the total charges in advance of fulfilling my request. I would prefer the request filled electronically, by e-mail attachment if available or CD-ROM if not.

Thank you in advance for your anticipated cooperation in this matter. I look forward to receiving your response to this request within 3 business days, as the statute requires.

Sincerely,

Samuel Sinyangwe

From: Brandi Lawrence

Due to the extent of this request. Please allow additional time to compy with your request.

From: Lisa Freeman

Good evening,

We received your inquiry dated March 8, 2017. The email chain shows numerous prior inquiries asking for an update but no information is shown indicating what email address these inquiries were sent. Please provide us with that information so that we can better serve you in a timely manner.

Sincerely,
LF

Lisa Freeman

Sr. Special Asst. Parish Attorney

Office of the Parish Attorney

City-Parish of East Baton Rouge

222 St. Louis Street, Suite 902

Baton Rouge, Louisiana 70802

Post Office Box 1471

Baton Rouge, Louisiana 70821

Telephone: 225.389.3114

Facsimile: 225.389.5554

From: Samuel Sinyangwe

Emails were originally sent to PublicRecordsRequest@brgov.com

From: Lisa Freeman

Good morning, Mr. Sinyangwe,

I wanted to let you know that we are continuing to address your request below, and we will advise you when we have responsive documents available for delivery.
Best regards,

LF

Lisa Freeman
Sr. Special Asst. Parish Attorney
B.R.P.D. Legal Advisor
9000 Airline Highway
Baton Rouge, Louisiana 70815
Telephone: 225.389.3809
Facsimile: 225.389.5589

From: Lisa Freeman

Good evening, Mr. Sinyangwe,

Please be advised that our office is continuing to process your request. We expect to have responsive items ready before the end of next week.

My assistant will contact you regarding payment and delivery arrangements.
Regards,

LF

From: Lisa Freeman

Dear Mr. Sinyangwe,

My apologies for the delay in our anticipated delivery of information to you.

Please be advised that we have processed item #1 of your request, and we have responsive documents which are ready for delivery upon payment for same.

However, as to item #2 of your request, clarification is needed as to whether your request includes each and every complaint lodged against a BRPD officer in all interactive situations-which would include for instance, traffic stops.

We await further direction from you on this latter point.

Sincerely,

LF

From: Samuel Sinyangwe

Hi Lisa,

Yes, the request covers all civilian complaints, which includes the traffic-related complaints.

Best,

Samuel Sinyangwe

From: Lisa Freeman

Thank you, sir.

We will process accordingly.

Kind regards,

LF

From: Lisa Freeman

Dear Mr. Sinyangwe,

We have responsive documents ready to provide to you, and my assistant will contact you about delivery arrangements of those records. The invoice for the items we have processed thus far is $551.00.

Please let us know as soon as possible when we can expect payment and we will continue to process the remaining portion of your records request.

Thank you and best regards,

LF

From: Samuel Sinyangwe

Hi Lisa,

I can make the payment today, I believe you can create a request for payment within this platform, let me know if you need help setting it up or whether there's another method preferred. In terms of the delivery of the records, you can reach me at 407-808-6873 to discuss.

-Sam

From: Lisa Freeman

Good afternoon, Mr. Sinyangwe,

Unfortunately, we can only accept a check or money order paid to the Baton Rouge Police Department.

Thank you.

LF

From: MuckRock.com

To Whom It May Concern:

Please find enclosed a check for $551.00 to satisfy the fee associated with the attached public records request.

Thank you.

From: Lisa Freeman

Good evening, Mr. Sinyangwe,

We have the documents regarding civilian complaints of use of force ready for delivery, and they are scheduled for mailing tomorrow.

Please note that we have redacted personal information regarding the complainants to ensure protection of their privacy interests.

Also, with respect to the "automated" language which continues to appear in your email communications with us-specifically the reference that "I wanted to follow up on the following Freedom of Information request, copied below, and originally submitted on July 12, 2016," I respectfully remind you that we did not learn of your request until March 8, 2017 as demonstrated by our responsive email on March 10, 2017, which I have attached hereto.
Best regards,

LF

From: Samuel Sinyangwe

Hi, thanks for your response. Two questions:
-in addition to civilian complaints, will the use of force reports filed for each case where force was used be sent as well as per our request?
-which address did you mail the documents?

Thanks,

Sam

From: Lisa Freeman

Good afternoon, Mr. Sinyangwe,

I wanted to update you on the progress of the remaining portion of your public records request.

We are trying as best as we can to address your request. This task, however, is enormous, as the following points should reflect:

After identifying and collecting all the responsive documents, we must them review for redaction of information that would violate the privacy of complainants/arrestees in those matters.

Prior to releasing documents, we must also cross-reference any criminal cases associated with the use of force reports, to ensure that the cases are no longer under pending investigation and/or prosecution.

Please know that the processing that is involved in your records request requires significant manpower hours and has resulted in overtime costs because it's being done in addition to normal staff duties.

Currently, we have collected hundreds of "accountability sheets/logs" which may relate to your request, and we are in the process of redacting those items, to protect the identity and other personal information associated with the complainants/arrestees in those matters.

As to the use of force reports, we have, at this point, identified and copied all reports in closed matters spanning 2013-2015 and are still processing records for 2016 thru the present.

We will still need to redact those items and cross-reference them with the court/prosecution databases to confirm that there are final dispositions in the criminal matters.

I understand that you spoke with Ms. Vazquez earlier this morning about the mis-delivery of the first batch of documents to a different destination point.

Our apologies for any confusion on our part and our thanks for your professional and kind conversation with Ms. Vazquez to clarify the mailing situation.
Best regards,

LF

From: Samuel Sinyangwe

Hi Lisa,

Thanks for the update. I received the first batch, which included a total of 13 complaints. When will the remaining complaints and use of force reports be sent and how many will be included?

Also, I noticed the race of the complainants on the offense reports in the first batch was redacted. Is there a reason for this? The public records requested should be inclusive of this information since it is not possible to ascertain the identity of the complainant based on such information.

Best,

Sam

From: Lisa Freeman

Good morning, Sam,

I've received your email below, and you will be getting a corrected version of the documents you've already received.

As for providing you with remaining responsive documents, we are continuing to work on this, and will be providing the requested items in "batches," as we are able to review and redact those items.

As always, thank you for your patience and professionalism.
Best,

Lisa

From: Chanita Vazquez

Good Evening Mr. Sinyangwe,
Please see the attached letter from the Legal Advisor along with an invoice for your request. Please contact Ms. Sheneakie Clark for payment and mailing options.

Sincerely,

Chanita Vazquez
Senior Legal Specialist
Assistant to Lisa Freeman
Baton Rouge Police Department
(225)389-3809
(225) 389-5589
CVazquez@brgov.com<mailto:CVazquez@brgov.com>

From: MuckRock

Hello Ms. Vazquez,

Could you please clarify how much money has been received and how much remains on the balance for this request? I believe we sent a check for $550. Can you confirm whether that was cashed or not? Does the $912 required from the most recent invoice include that previous submission?

Thanks so much,
Beryl, MuckRock

From: Lisa Freeman

Good morning, Ms. Lipton,

My apologies for being unable to answer your questions below. My assistant, Ms. Vazquez, would have that information, but she is out of the country on military leave until 07/25/17.

I have forwarded your email to her yesterday, but have not received a reply.

If she responds, I will promptly let you know what she conveys about the invoicing of your public records request documents.

Thank you for your consideration during this time.

LF

From: Beryl Lipton

Hello Ms. Freeman,

Thanks so much for your response. I'll look forward to hearing from you again.

I hope you have a lovely weekend!

Best,
Beryl

From: Lisa Freeman

Hello, Ms. Lipton,

I really appreciate your graciousness.

I have not yet heard from Ms. Vazquez, but as promised, I will let you know exactly what she says when I do.

As you can see, I am copying her on this email, in the event she's in a position to respond directly to you.

Wishes for a great weekend to you, as well.

LF

From: Lisa Freeman

Good morning, Ms. Lipton,

We are trying to contact you by phone to answer your questions about the invoiced materials.

If you could please provide us with your telephone contact info that would be great.

Also, if you let us know what time zone you're in and indicate a good time to call, we'll be happy to accommodate your preference.
Best regards,

LF

From: Chanita Vazquez

Good Morning Ms. Lipton,
I am so sorry for my delayed response. Currently, there are two outstanding balances for records regarding Use of Force/Complaints:

1. $20 Research Fee per hour @ 3 hours = $60
$1 per page @ 852 pages = $852
Total = $912

2. $20 Research Fee per hour @ 7 hours = $140
$1 per page @ 532 pages = $532
Total = $672
There is a $20 Research Fee per hour and $1 per page for the number of pages within each record. Later this afternoon we will be able to provide you with an updated invoice to reflect the charges.

So far we have provided Mr. Singyangwe with civilian use of force complaints which totaled = $551
Invoice: $20 Research Fee + $1 per page @ 531 pages = $551.

I hope this helps with the breakdown of the invoices and our price list. We are still working on the rest of the records from his request. As soon as they become available we will forward you an invoice.

If you have any further questions or concerns please feel free to contact our office at 225-389-3809 and I will be more than happy to help you.

Sincerely,

Chanita Vazquez
Senior Legal Specialist
Assistant to Lisa Freeman
Baton Rouge Police Department
(225)389-3809
(225) 389-5589
CVazquez@brgov.com<mailto:CVazquez@brgov.com>

From: Chanita Vazquez

Good Afternoon Mrs. Lipton,
Please see the attached revised invoices breaking down the charges associated with the use of force records that we have waiting thus far.

Please let me know if you have any questions or concerns.

Sincerely,

Chanita Vazquez
Senior Legal Specialist
Assistant to Lisa Freeman
Baton Rouge Police Department
(225)389-3809
(225) 389-5589
CVazquez@brgov.com<mailto:CVazquez@brgov.com>

From: MuckRock

Ms. Freeman,

I am so sorry for having missed your messages. Our office phone number is 617-299-1832; we're located in Boston, the Eastern Time Zone. If you don't mind clarifying my understanding of the invoices, that would be terrific. Am I correct in believing the overall total for materials all told is $1584 for the two requests but that you are currently holding a check for $551, meaning that the total remaining to be sent is $1033?

Thanks so much for your help. I hope you've had a lovely week.

Best wishes,
Beryl

From: MuckRock

To Whom It May Concern:

Please find enclosed a check for $1033 to satisfy the fees associated with the attached public records request.

Thank you.

From: Chanita Vazquez

Good Morning,
We received your check yesterday and will mail out your records this morning.

Sincerely,

Chanita Vazquez
Senior Legal Specialist
Assistant to Lisa Freeman
Baton Rouge Police Department
(225)389-3809
(225) 389-5589
CVazquez@brgov.com<mailto:CVazquez@brgov.com>

From: Baton Rouge Police Department

A copy of documents responsive to the request.

From: Samuel Sinyangwe

Hi,
In looking through the documents you've sent, it appears a significant number of use of force reports were not included. I count documents from only 12 use of force investigations in what was sent, despite BRPD's own records indicating they conducted:
- 32 use of force internal affairs investigations in 2016 (see here: http://www.brgov.com/dept/brpd/2016_InternalAffairsSummary.pdf)
- 31 use of force internal affairs investigations in 2015 (see here: http://www.brgov.com/dept/brpd/2015_InternalAffairsSummary.pdf)
- 35 use of force internal affairs investigations in 2014

My request should be inclusive of all of these cases (and 2013 as well). Where are the documents for these remaining cases?

-Samuel Sinyangwe

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