Police department misconduct allegations and disciplinary proceedings

Beryl Lipton filed this request with the Camillus Town and Village Police Department of Camillus, NY.
Status
Rejected

Communications

From: Beryl Lipton

To Whom It May Concern:

Pursuant to the New York Freedom of Information Law, I hereby request the following records:

All materials and records describing and sufficient to show/disclose all allegations of misconduct made and all disciplinary proceedings taken against any officer, employee, or representative of this policing agency.

As described in the New York Freedom of Information Law, a record is "any information kept, held, filed, produced or reproduced by, with or for an agency or the state legislature, in any physical form whatsoever including, but not limited to, reports, statements, examinations, memoranda, opinions, folders, files, books, manuals, pamphlets, forms, papers, designs, drawings, maps, photos, letters, microfilms, computer tapes or discs, rules, regulations or codes." Records kept in a digital or electronic form are also records, would be responsive to this request, and should be provided.

These records are typically required to be retained under the New York State Records Retention and Disposition Schedule MU-1 (http://www.archives.nysed.gov/records/retention_mu-1), including, but not limited to, item no. 365, which includes: "Investigative records and disciplinary proceedings, including but not limited to statement of charge, transcript of hearing, notice of decision, letter of termination or resignation, letter of reinstatement, record of appeal procedure, and correspondence." While materials under that schedule have a set retention of 3 years after the final decision rendered, this request and materials responsive to it include *all* records held in the possession of any office or individual employed or formerly employed by this policing agency, including those kept off-site, in digital form, and in personnel files.

Please note that any failure to provide all potentially-responsive materials and/or the destruction of materials potentially responsive to this request would be a violation of the spirit of the New York Freedom of Information Law, as well as unlawful under the New York FOIL and the terms of the attached litigation hold notice.

Materials responsive to this request include — but are not limited to — all complaints, reports, records of discipline and penalties, aggregate collections of complaint and disciplinary materials (spreadsheets, databases), investigatory materials, relevant related correspondence, photographs, video, other related evidence, proof of discipline or fulfillment of penalties, and all personnel materials (including those used in promotion, contract, and other employment negotiations and considerations) that reference or utilize misconduct allegations or disciplinary materials of any sort.

Materials responsive to this request include all complaints— internal, external, and civilian — and include records disclosing the names, badge numbers, and personnel identification of each officer involved and/or serving as a witness, as well as all available details of the incident/complaint: date, time, location, nature of the incident, description of the incident, nature of the investigation, investigatory materials, the disposition of the case, and any subsequent materials related to the execution of any resultant discipline. Responsive materials include all complaints and allegations against any officer, employee, or representative of this policing agency, regardless of whether that complaint or allegation resulted in any investigation or disciplinary action.

Responsive materials also include all records of use of force by officers, including records disclosing the names, badge numbers, and personnel identification of each officer involved and/or serving as a witness, as well as all available details of the incident: date, time, location, nature of the incident, description of the incident, nature of the use of force, subsequent investigatory materials related to the use of force, the disposition of any investigation into the incident, and any subsequent materials related to the use of force.

Please provide materials on a rolling basis, beginning with materials created during the following timeframes:
• January 1, 2010 - June 15, 2020
• January 1, 2000 - January 1, 2010
• January 1, 1990 - January 1, 2000
• January 1, 1980 - January 1, 1990
• January 1, 1970 - January 1, 1980

Pursuant to NYCRR Section 1401.5(c)(1), should any of this request be unclear or lack sufficient description for your office, please provide direction that would enable this requester to request records reasonably described. Please also note that the New York FOIL states: "An agency shall not deny a request on the basis that the request is voluminous or that locating or reviewing the requested records or providing the requested copies is burdensome because the agency lacks sufficient staffing or on any other basis if the agency may engage an outside professional service to provide copying, programming or other services required to provide the copy...." Please also see FOIL AO 19671, an Advisory Opinion from the Committee on Open Government [https://docs.dos.ny.gov/coog/ftext/f19671.htm].

If your office has questions about this request or would like to discuss it for any reason, please contact this requester via the contact email address provided and feel free to follow up by phone: 617-299-1832. This request is being submitted to each policing agency in New York as part of a collaborative project led by MuckRock and involving multiple other educational and journalistic partners and participants. For this reason, over the lifetime of this request, your agency may interface with individuals not listed on this initial communication.

This request is being made in the public interest by a news organization as part of non-profit (not commercial) journalistic work and research on behalf of the public. 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 and as part of the necessary negotiations for successful processing. As far as it is possible, please fulfill elements of this request 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,

Beryl Lipton

From: Camillus Town and Village Police Department

An acknowledgement letter, stating the request is being processed.

From:

Ms. Lipton,

The attached response was sent to MuckRock News via US Mail on June 22, 2020. As of today this piece of mail has not been returned to us.

Please let me know if we can be of further assistance.

Thomas M. Winn
Chief of Police
Camillus Police Department
4600 West Genesee Street
Syracuse, New York USA 13219

(315) 487-0102
(315) 487-5572 Fax

[cid:image003.png@01D6551F.8C63DBB0]
New York State Association of Chiefs of Police
Board of Governors - Zone 7 Representative

From: Camillus Town and Village Police Department

A fix is required to perfect the request.

From: Beryl Lipton

Hello Ms. Dickson-McMahon,

Thank you for your earlier letter, and I apologize for the delay in my response. Please find below an updated version of my previously-submitted Freedom of Information Law request. This version provides additional specificity about the requested information. Please let me know if I should call about this request.

Thank you so much for your time and help.

Best wishes,
Beryl
____________

To Whom It May Concern:

Pursuant to the New York Freedom of Information Law, I hereby request the following records:

All materials and records describing and sufficient to show/disclose all law enforcement disciplinary records, including materials on allegations of misconduct made and all disciplinary proceedings taken against any law enforcement officer currently or formerly in the employ of this policing agency.

For a more specific definition of the term “law enforcement disciplinary record,” please see Section 86 of the New York Public Officers Law. For a more specific definition of the term “law enforcement officer,” please refer to the definitions of peace officer found in subdivisions twenty-three and twenty-three-a of section 2.10 of the criminal procedure law and subdivision twenty-four of section 2.10 of the criminal procedure law, as well as the definition of police officer found in section 1.20 of the criminal procedure law.

As described in the New York Freedom of Information Law, a record is:
"any information kept, held, filed, produced or reproduced by, with or for an agency or the state legislature, in any physical form whatsoever including, but not limited to, reports, statements, examinations, memoranda, opinions, folders, files, books, manuals, pamphlets, forms, papers, designs, drawings, maps, photos, letters, microfilms, computer tapes or discs, rules, regulations or codes."
Records kept in a digital or electronic form are also records, would be responsive to this request, and should be provided.

The request records are typically required to be retained, in part, under the New York State Records Retention and Disposition Schedule MU-1 (http://www.archives.nysed.gov/records/retention_mu-1), including, but not limited to, item no. 365, which includes:
"Investigative records and disciplinary proceedings, including but not limited to statement of charge, transcript of hearing, notice of decision, letter of termination or resignation, letter of reinstatement, record of appeal procedure, and correspondence."
While materials under that schedule have a set retention of 3 years after the final decision rendered, this request and materials responsive to it include *all* records held in the possession of any office or individual employed or formerly employed by this policing agency, including those kept off-site, in digital form, and in personnel files.

Please note that any failure to provide all potentially-responsive materials and/or the destruction of materials potentially responsive to this request would be a violation of the spirit of the New York Freedom of Information Law, as well as unlawful under the New York FOIL and the terms of the previously-submitted litigation hold notice.

Materials responsive to this request include — but are not limited to — all complaints, reports, records of discipline and penalties, aggregate collections of complaint and disciplinary materials (spreadsheets, databases), investigatory materials, relevant related correspondence, photographs, video, other related evidence, proof of discipline or fulfillment of penalties, and all personnel materials (including those used in promotion, contract, and other employment negotiations and considerations) that reference or utilize misconduct allegations or disciplinary materials of any sort.

Materials responsive to this request include all complaints— internal, external, and civilian — and include records disclosing the names, badge numbers, and personnel identification of each officer involved and/or serving as a witness, as well as all available details of the incident/complaint: date, time, location, nature of the incident, description of the incident, nature of the investigation, investigatory materials, the disposition of the case, and any subsequent materials related to the execution of any resultant discipline. Responsive materials include all complaints and allegations against any officer, employee, or representative of this policing agency, regardless of whether that complaint or allegation resulted in any investigation or disciplinary action.

Responsive materials also include all records of use of force by officers, including records disclosing the names, badge numbers, and personnel identification of each officer involved and/or serving as a witness, as well as all available details of the incident: date, time, location, nature of the incident, description of the incident, nature of the use of force, subsequent investigatory materials related to the use of force, the disposition of any investigation into the incident, and any subsequent materials related to the use of force.

Please provide materials on a rolling basis, beginning with materials created during the following timeframes:
• January 1, 2010 - November 30, 2020
• January 1, 2000 - January 1, 2010
• January 1, 1990 - January 1, 2000
• January 1, 1980 - January 1, 1990
• January 1, 1970 - January 1, 1980

Pursuant to NYCRR Section 1401.5(c)(1), should any of this request be unclear or lack sufficient description for your office, please provide direction that would enable this requester to request records reasonably described. Please also note that the New York FOIL states:
"An agency shall not deny a request on the basis that the request is voluminous or that locating or reviewing the requested records or providing the requested copies is burdensome because the agency lacks sufficient staffing or on any other basis if the agency may engage an outside professional service to provide copying, programming or other services required to provide the copy...."
Please also see FOIL AO 19671, an Advisory Opinion from the Committee on Open Government [https://docs.dos.ny.gov/coog/ftext/f19671.htm].

If your office has questions about this request or would like to discuss it for any reason, please contact this requester via the contact email address provided and feel free to follow up by phone: 617-299-1832.

This request is being submitted to each policing agency in New York as part of a collaborative project led by MuckRock and involving multiple other educational and journalistic partners and participants. For this reason, over the lifetime of this request, your agency may interface with individuals not listed on this initial communication.

This request is being made in the public interest by a news organization as part of non-profit (not commercial) journalistic work and research on behalf of the public. 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 and as part of the necessary negotiations for successful processing.

As far as it is possible, please fulfill elements of this request 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,

Beryl Lipton

From: Camillus Town and Village Police Department

I am out of the office until Monday, December 21. If you have something that requires immediate attention, please contact Theresa Garvey or Sue Lucio:

tgarvey@townofcamillus.com
slucio@townofcamillus.com

From: Camillus Town and Village Police Department

Good morning,

Your email of November 30 was not received on this end. Would you please resend the clarified request?

Thank you,

Martha

Martha Dickson-McMahon, RMC
Town Clerk-Town of Camillus
4600 West Genesee Street
Syracuse, NY 13219
315-488-1234

From: Camillus Town and Village Police Department

To Whom it May Concern,

In response to your email of 12/16 (your email of 11/30 not having been received on this end), I have been provided with an update informing me that your request is still under review. Due to the large volume of records spanning over 50 years that must be reviewed, the impact of COVID-19 on operations, and the pendency of litigation regarding this subject in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York, the Town is continuing to assess which records, if any, can be lawfully disclosed at this time. For all of these reasons, as well as the upcoming holidays, we are in need of a 60-day extension from the date of this message to respond to your request.

Thank you,
Martha

Martha Dickson-McMahon, RMC
Town Clerk-Town of Camillus
4600 West Genesee Street
Syracuse, NY 13219
315-488-1234

From: Camillus Town and Village Police Department

Please see below a copy of the email response that was provided to you on December 22, 2020.

From: Camillus Town and Village Police Department

I have responded to this twice. Have you received those responses?

From: Beryl Lipton

Hello Ms. Dickson-McMahon,

Thank you for your work on this request. I'm wondering whether you could please provide an estimated completion date for this request. I understand that it may take a while longer, but having a realistic sense of when the request will be completed will help me to avoid unnecessary follow-up messages.

Thanks very much for your time and help.

Best wishes,
Beryl

From: Camillus Town and Village Police Department

Dear Beryl,

I have received an update on your FOIL request and have been informed that, due to the large volume of records spanning over 50 years that must be reviewed, the impact of COVID-19 on operations, and the need for analysis of recent court decisions regarding this subject in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York and the Second Circuit, the Town is continuing to assess which police disciplinary records, if any, can be lawfully disclosed at this time. For all of these reasons, we are in need of another 60-day extension from the date of this message to respond to your request.

In addition, an appropriately skilled agency employee of proper rank has started the process of redacting Use of Force records that you have requested. Those redacted records should be made available to you within the next 60 days.

Thank you,
Martha

Martha Dickson-McMahon, RMC
Town Clerk-Town of Camillus
4600 West Genesee Street
Syracuse, NY 13219
315-488-1234

From: Camillus Town and Village Police Department

Please see our response of April 8 below:

From: Camillus Town and Village Police Department

Dear Beryl,

We have completed the process of locating all Subject Management Reports (Use of Force) records in the Town’s possession. An appropriately skilled agency employee of proper rank has completed reviewing and redacting these reports for the years 2016 through 2020, which is now available as a partial response to your FOIL request.

The total documents prepared thus far numbers 177 and the fee due for the copies is $44.25 ($.25/page). They are available for payment and pickup at my office Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

When more documents have made it through the redaction process, I will contact you.

Thank you,

Martha
Martha Dickson-McMahon, RMC
Town Clerk-Town of Camillus
4600 West Genesee Street
Syracuse, NY 13219
315-488-1234

From: Beryl Lipton

Hello Martha,

Thank you so much for this message. Would it be fine to send you a check for the cost of the records or is there an electronic method that we could use?

Wishing you the best,
Beryl

From: Camillus Town and Village Police Department

Beryl,

Yes, a check is fine; payable to Town of Camillus.

Martha

From: Camillus Town and Village Police Department

Dear Beryl,

It has been six weeks and I have not received payment for the FOIL request you initiated. Are you still in need of the documents?

Thank you,
Martha

Martha Dickson-McMahon, RMC
Town Clerk-Town of Camillus
4600 West Genesee Street
Syracuse, NY 13219
315-488-1234

From: Camillus Town and Village Police Department

To Whom it May Concern,

Relative to the FOIL request you made, the Town of Camillus spent significant man hours and materials assembling the documents you requested. Once done and the amount due was presented to you, there has been no further communication.

At this point we are considering your request abandoned and all documents will be destroyed. Please be advised that no further requests will be entertained unless the fees related to this abandoned request are paid first.

Thank you,
Martha

Martha Dickson-McMahon, RMC
Town Clerk-Town of Camillus
4600 West Genesee Street
Syracuse, NY 13219

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