Bellevue PD SWAT shooting in Seattle 2013-03-22: warrants & affidavits

Phil Mocek filed this request with the Bellevue Police Department of Bellevue, WA .
Status
Rejected

Communications

From: Phil Mocek

To Whom It May Concern:

Pursuant to RCW Ch. 42.56 (Public Records Act), I hereby request the following records:

All warrants and supporting affidavits related to the March 22, 2013, incident during which members of the Bellevue Police Department SWAT unit Casey Hiam, Jacob Bement, and Jacob Childers executed a man at approximately 5:00 a.m. near South Hudson Street and 42nd Avenue South in the Columbia City neighborhood of Seattle, Washington.

I also request that, if appropriate, fees be waived as I believe this request is in the public interest. The requested documents will be made available to the general public free of charge as part of the public information service at MuckRock.com, processed by a representative of the news media/press and is made in the process of news gathering and not for commercial usage.

In the event that fees cannot be waived, 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 5 business days, as the statute requires.

Sincerely,

Phil Mocek

From: SPD

Dear Mr. Mocek:

The Bellevue Police Department received your public records request for the warrants and supporting affidavits relating to the March 22, 2013 Officer Involved Shooting. The investigation into that incident is an open active investigation. Your request is denied as it is essential to effective law enforcement that active investigations remain confidential.

RCW 42.56.240 (1) (formerly RCW 42.17.310 (1) (d)) exempts from public disclosure records that are essential to effective law enforcement. In Newman v. King County, attached, the Washington State Supreme Court held that the Public Disclosure Act (PDA) exempts all information contained in open, active police investigation files from disclosure under “effective law enforcement” exemption.

Sincerely,

Kyle Aiken
Legal Advisor
Bellevue Police Department
425-452-7826
The contents of this electronic mail message do not necessarily reflect the official views of the elected officials or citizens of the City of Bellevue.

From: Phil Mocek

Re: My records request of April 8, 2013

Dear SIr or Madam:

Please understand that I am not requesting records specifically about the officer-committed murder, but the warrant(s) and supporting affidavit(s) for the robbery investigation which led to your SWAT deployment in a neighboring city on March 22. It is my understanding that the suspect in that investigation is now deceased.

I ask that you release all segregable portions of non-releasable records. I also ask that you provide an estimated date of release for all records that you are temporarily unable to release and that you provide some means of identifying any ongoing investigation that will delay release of responsive records.

Cordially,
Phil Mocek

From: MuckRock.com

To Whom It May Concern:

I wanted to follow up on the following Freedom of Information request, copied below, and originally submitted on April 8, 2013. Please let me know when I can expect to receive a response, or if further clarification is needed.

Thank you for your help.

From: SPD

Mr. Mocek:

Thank you for your follow-up request. I have attached the e-mails previously sent to you in response to this "follow-up" request. I am unsure why you persist in stating that you have not received a response.

To be clear: your request is denied because the items you request are part of an open active investigation. This is based on RCW 42.56.240 (1). It is essential to effective law enforcement that open investigative material not be disclosed because it could interfere with the investigation. This was established in Newman v. King County.

We do not know when the investigation will be completed.

Sincerely,

From: Phil Mocek

RE: my public records request of April 8, 2013

Dear Kyle:

I received your e-mail of May 15. In it, you wrote that you are "unsure why [I] persist in stating that [I] have not received a response." I suspect you are conflating multiple requests. Your May 15 message was the first correspondence received at the single-purpose e-mail address assigned to [this request][1]o since your April 8 message. On April 10, I wrote to you a clarification that "I am not requesting records specifically about the officer-committed murder, but the warrant(s) and supporting affidavit(s) for the robbery investigation which led to your SWAT deployment in a neighboring city on March 22" and that it "is my understanding that the suspect in that investigation is now deceased."

[1]: <https://www.muckrock.com/foi/bellevue-402/bellevue-pd-swat-shooting-in-seattle-2013-03-22-warrants-affidavits-4894>
(FOI Request: Bellevue PD SWAT shooting in Seattle 2013-03-22: warrants & affidavits)

Also in my April 10 message, I requested "that you release all segregable portions of non-releasable records" and "that you provide an estimated date of release for all records that you are temporarily unable to release and that you provide some means of identifying any ongoing investigation that will delay release of responsive records."

You have not released segregable portions of non-releaseable records. You have not provided an estimated date of release for records you are temporarily unable (or unwilling) to release, and you have not provided any means of identifying whatever ongoing investigation purportedly delays the release of the public records I seek. The only solution I have yet thought of is to place PRA requests on a regular basis until you are willing to provide that which I have requested. I am open to alternative suggestions.

Cordially,
Phil Mocek

From: Bellevue Police Department

Dear Mr. Mocek:

The documents you request are part of an open investigation. Under RCW 42.56.240 (1) it is essential to effective law enforcement that open investigations remain totally exempt from public disclosure. This protects the integrity of the investigation. The Washington Supreme Court held this in Newman v. King County. The documents are currently totally and categorically exempt.

Totally and categorically exempt means that we do not provide any portion of the records in an open investigation until the investigation is closed. Your requests for portions of the open investigation have been and are denied.

RCW 42.56.520 provides that the agency must provide the record or provide a reasonable estimate of the time required to respond or deny the public record request. It does not provide that that we provide a reasonable estimate of when a denied request will be filled. The records you are requesting are included in 13-13818. I cannot predict when the investigation will be completed and when the public record will be prepared.

Sincerely,

Kyle Aiken
Legal Advisor
Bellevue Police Department
425-452-7826
The contents of this electronic mail message do not necessarily reflect the official views of the elected officials or citizens of the City of Bellevue.

From: Bellevue Police Department

Dear Mr. Mocek:

Thank you for your follow-up request. Thank you for clarifying that the responses I sent were received although they were not sent to the exact in-box you requested. I apologize for the confusion.

To be clear: your request is denied because the items you request are part of an open active investigation. This is based on RCW 42.56.240 (1). It is essential to effective law enforcement that open investigative material not be disclosed because it could interfere with the investigation. This was established in Newman v. King County.

We do not know when the investigation will be completed.

Sincerely,
Kyle Aiken

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