ProPublica: Hate crimes data

Ken Schwencke filed this request with the Muncie Police Department of Muncie, IN.
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Completed

Communications

From: Ken Schwencke

To Whom It May Concern:

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

Any database or other records of hate crimes or crimes evidencing bias of race, color, ancestry, ethnicity, religion, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, national origin or disability reported to or investigated by your agency since Jan. 1, 2010, containing at least the following fields:

the incident number
date of the incident
whether the crime was against individuals or a business / property
number of victims
race or ethnicity of the victims
gender of the victims
the offense classification
the location of the incident
the bias motivation (anti-black, anti-muslim, etc)

I would like the records in a machine-readable, electronic format if possible. If the records are kept in another format, or kept individually, I would still like copies.

This request is made as part of the Documenting Hate Project, a collaboration involving dozens of news organizations, led by ProPublica. Coverage from the project is compiled at https://projects.propublica.org/graphics/hatecrimes#hatecrime-coverage.

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 7 business days, as the statute requires.

Sincerely,

Ken Schwencke

From:

Ken Schwencke,

The Indiana Access to Public Records Act (Ind. Code § 5-14-3-1
_et seq.)
_ says that you must identify with "Reasonable Particularity" the
public record that you are requesting. We are not required to provide
the details to you, you must provide them to us. We release, when it
is not an active investigation or otherwise protected by statute,
specific "public record" documents, but you must with "Reasonable
Particularity" identify the records. We are not required to generate
statistical information, nor do broad and general searches to obtain
the specific information for you.

We report "Hate Crime" information, as defined by the Uniform Crime
Report (UCR), to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), but that
is not a "public record". It is internal work product, which we send
to another Law Enforcement Agency. The FBI publishes a public version
of their data collection. You may want to contact them to see
how that report is available and what data it will provide.

Have a nice day,

Muncie Police Records Division

From: Ken Schwencke

Hi there Muncie Police Records Division,

Could you cite for me the exemption that allows "internal work product" to be excluded as a public record? If they are in fact a public record, then the UCR records sent from 2010-2016, and any compiled thusly for 2017, plainly satisfy my request. I would like copies of them.

Thank you,
Ken Schwencke

From:

I cited for you the Indiana Statute number for the Access to Public
Records law. Feel free to read the statute for yourself. Make sure
that you read the portion pertaining to Law Enforcement Agencies, as
the law pertaining to LE is more restricted that other public
agencies.

From: Ken Schwencke

Here's what the law says about denials:

If a request initially is made in writing, by facsimile, or through enhanced access, or if an oral request that has been denied is renewed in writing or by
facsimile, a public agency may deny the request if:
(1) the denial is in writing or by facsimile; and
(2) the denial includes:
(A) a statement of the specific exemption or exemptions
authorizing the withholding of all or part of the public
record; and
(B) the name and the title or position of the person
responsible for the denial.

You have provided the broad records law, but no specific exemption related to "internal work product" as would be required by the statute. Further, you have not responded with the title or position of the person responsible for the denial.

Thank you,
Ken Schwencke

From: Ken Schwencke

Hi there,

I'm writing again to request either a denial according to the Indiana Access to Public Records Act -- with a specific exemption cited and the name and title of the person responsible for the denial -- or a grant of my request for your UCR hate crime records.

Have a nice day,
Ken Schwencke

From:

It took a little time to for us to make contact the Indiana Public
Access Counselor, to obtain his verbal opinion of our initial
stance, that the requested records were exempt from disclosure. We
were going to respond to you with the exertion that the portion of
the statute stating:

_"IC 5-14-3-4
_
_RECORDS AND RECORDINGS EXEMPTED FROM DISCLOSURE; TIME LIMITATIONS;
DESTRUCTION OF RECORDS
_
_
_

_.........
_

_.........(6) Records that are intra-agency or interagency advisory
or deliberative material, including material developed by a private
contractor under a contract with a public agency, that are expressions
of opinion or are of a speculative nature, and that are communicated
for the purpose of decision making."
_

was the provision exempting them from disclosure.

However, after consulting with the Indiana Public Access Counselor,
our position has changed. He advised us that these
particular intra-agency/interagency materials were not
"deliberative", expressions of opinion, or speculative, but were
instead raw data that had already been generated for the UCR. As such,
the Public Access Counselor opined that we should try to accommodate
the request.

That being said, you have asked for 90 months worth of submissions,
most of which were likely to contain a zero report submissions. Just
trying to locate all of those submission might be a daunting task. We
will try to locate the information requested and determine the cost to
obtain it, then contact you. We have asked the FBI for their
assistance, to see if they may be able to provide us with a quicker
solution.

Lt. Scott Sherwood

Muncie Police Department - Records Division

From:

Ken Schwencke,

     We have been able to track down the requested documents. To
obtain them in a digital format, the cost is $10.00 for a CD. You will
need to send us payment, in the form of a BUSINESS Check or Money
Order only. (We do not accept credit/debit cards or personal checks.)
It will need to be payable to the _MUNCIE POLICE DEPARTMENT. _You must
also send a self-addressed padded envelope, of sufficient size to
accommodate a CD jewel case. The return envelope must have return
postage already on it, as we do not provide postage. Also enclose a
small note referencing these emails and your request, so that we make
sure you get the correct documents (CD) sent back to you. All of the
above items need to be sent to:

Muncie Police Department - Records Division

Attention: Lt Sherwood

300 N High Street

Muncie, IN 47303

Upon receipt of all of the above listed items, the CD containing the
requested digital documents and a receipt of payment will be returned
in your provided return envelope.

Lt. Sherwood

From: Ken Schwencke

Lt. Sherwood,

I appreciate your help. A check and self-addressed CD case should be on its way.

Thanks,
Ken Schwencke
ProPublica
w: 917-512-0253
c: 561-756-6135

From: Ken Schwencke

Lt. Sherwood,

I appreciate your help. A check and self-addressed CD case should be on its way.

Thanks,
Ken Schwencke
ProPublica
w: 917-512-0253
c: 561-756-6135

From: MuckRock.com


To Whom It May Concern:

Please find enclosed a check for $10.00 to satisfy the fee associated with the attached public records request.

Thank you.

From: Muncie Police Department

A copy of documents responsive to the request.

From: Ken Schwencke

Lt. Sherwood,

Thanks so much for your help with this request! I really appreciate it.

Sincerely,
Ken Schwencke

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